Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MSG-free Cheesy Broccoli, Potato, Spinach and Ham Soup with Bacon

Nothing drives me crazier than a "Fauxtographer." You know the kind- I'm sure you have 10 Facebook friends who bought a decent camera, started a Facebook page, and all of a sudden started taking money in exchange for pictures taken on the "Auto" setting and edited in PicMonkey. I hesitate to post recipes because I am NOT a food blogger, nor do I claim to be a professional chef or anyone really qualified to be posting recipes online. Honestly, I just have a real passion for real food and I'm a wannabe foodie. So, I'm just making sure you know that I in no way compare myself, or claim to be, in the ranks of actual amazing food bloggers! Ok. We good? (PS, Please don't hate me if you're a pho/faux-tographer).

 One thing that physically makes me sick and guilty is when I eat something that has MSG in it. Monosodium Glutamate, (you can also spot it under its alias as "Savory" or "yeast extract," among others) is basically in everything... cream of ____ soup, those ranch dressing packets, pretty much anything powdered, most chicken broth... anyways- last week I made a Japanese "schtew" (stew) that was delicious, but I made it using the little bricks of stew mix that my mom gave me. It just felt bad eating it. :( These things didn't bother me before... until I took that nutrition class last spring! Now I am kindof paranoid about food and make my own salad dressing or make stuff like chocolate syrup that doesn't have all that yucky stuff in it that I can't read (#I'mTHATgirl).

Which brings me to this soup. After last week I was craving something that didn't make me feel guilty (in the MSG-laden way, not the creamy, cheesy, and bacony way- though let's be honest, I don't often feel too guilty eating these things most of the time). This fit the bill, especially after walking around frozen campus all day. Cheesy, hearty, swirls of spinach and chunks of ham.. it's soul-warming food! Ok, go make it... now.

Cheesy Broccoli, Potato, Spinach and Ham Soup with Bacon
From the Kitchen of Lisa Childs

1/2 C. Butter (1 stick)
1 Medium Onion (diced)
1/2 C. Flour
4 C. Low sodium, MSG-free Chicken broth (2 cans)
1 Pint Half & Half or Whole milk
2-3 Heads and stems fresh Broccoli
1 Medium/large Russet Potato (small dice)
1-2 Big handfuls Spinach leaves
1-2 C. Ham (cooked and diced)
2-3 C. Sharp or Medium Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 C. Sour Cream
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
~2 Cloves minced Garlic
Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper

Saute butter and onion in stock pot until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add flour to make a roux and cook until completely combined and nutty. Slowly add the first can of chicken broth, whisking continuously to avoid lumps in roux. Add the rest of the chicken broth, half and half,  garlic, spices, ham and veggies. Cover and let simmer on low for 30-40 minutes or until veggies are tender. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and cheese (if you don't like your broccoli to be super tender and fall apart, you can steam it ahead of time until al-dente and add it in at the end). Top with additional cheese and crumbled bacon. Serve in a fresh bread bowl or with a loaf of bread. Enjoy!  

**Just a disclaimer, this is a pretty thick soup. My husband likes soup thicker and chunkier than most people, so if you like it to be a little more "soupy" then you can add more chicken broth or milk :) 

I LOVE making soup because it is so easy! You can adapt it to your needs and wants and it tastes delicious every time. You can make this soup easily vegetarian by omitting ham and bacon and adding more potatoes and carrots. Don't want to indulge too much? Omit sour cream and just put a tablespoon on each serving. Don't like nitrates? Omit the bacon all together (I put the bacon on top specifically for Brett). I also make similar soup to this with more veggies and chicken. I love making chicken noodle soup with home made broth and home made noodles too- I'll have to post that recipe another time. This soup is wonderful because you can add or subtract or substitute anything and it still turns out delicious. Perfect for this blistering cold weather we have!

Happy Holidays! Stay warm, people!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The BEST Blueberry Peach Cobbler

What I don’t like in a cobbler: dry or mushy cake, overly artificially sweet fruit, a soupy mess in the bottom of the pan, drippy uncooked batter, and any recipe that calls for a box of yellow cake, corn syrup or corn starch. Blech. 

What my husband doesn’t like in dessert: any sort of fruit, any sort of warm fruit, anything warm, anything warm paired with anything cold, in essence, he hates cobbler. 

What I DO love in a cobbler: buttery and almost caramelized and chewy crust (you’ll probably have to fight over the corners!), soft but moist cake, natural sweetness (not the ‘hurt your teeth’ sweet) and just the right amount of cinnamon spice. You could say I’m slightly picky, but this cobbler is just the perfect summer treat! Plus, my husband adored it! You know it’s a win when he approves! 

The BEST Blueberry Peach Cobbler
Lisa’s Kitchen, adapted from Paula Deen

5-6 Peaches, sliced and peeled (I take all the skin and the bitter red pit-flesh part out)
~1 C. Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
¼-1/2 C. Sugar, depending on how sweet your peaches are
¼-1/2 C. Water

1 Stick Butter
1 ½ C. Self rising flour (You can add 1 ½ t. baking powder and ½ t. Salt for every 1 C. all-purpose flour)
~3/4-1C. Sugar
1 ½ C. milk
A few pinches of salt
A sprinkle each of cinnamon and sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the peaches, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat. Place the stick of butter in a deep casserole dish, and place it in the oven to melt.

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt and combine until evenly distributed. Pour in the milk slowly to prevent clumps and mix thoroughly. There will probably be a few lumps, I haven’t found it to be a problem. When the butter is completely melted, take the pan out of the oven and pour the batter into the pan. Do NOT mix the butter into the batter! Using a slotted spoon, spoon the fruit over the batter, careful not to mix or stir. If you like a little more of a juicy and drippy cobbler, add all the syrupy goodness into the pan as well. Sprinkle the top with blueberries, fresh or frozen. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar and bake for about 40 minutes. The batter will rise up all on the sides of the fruit and the peaches will sink to the bottom as the cake layer comes to the top and gets delicious on top! Enjoy with ice cream or fresh whipped cream and some fresh lemon zest

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Whine, Pout, Shout Day

This story starts a few months ago. After we had been accepted to the U in February, we started to make plans as to where we would live, what jobs would be available, and all sorts of fun stuff that happens when you change homes, cities, schools, jobs, and majors... all at the same time. Brett was planning to just transfer State Farm offices to somewhere in Salt Lake City, but after we got accepted, he decided that this may be the right and best time for something new and even perhaps something better. We absolutely have loved State Farm and his agent has just been fabulous to us and has done so much for Brett and I, but we decided it would be a great opportunity to try something new and not get locked into doing insurance the rest of our lives.

We started looking around and my oldest brother talked to Brett about a company he used to work for a few years called MarketStar. The job sounded really interesting to Brett and the potential there was awesome. He applied a few weeks ago after much anticipation and waited patiently. In the mean time, we got SO many offers from people and companies that we didn't even apply for, that wanted Brett! He put is resume on Monster and since then, has gotten several job offers and interested employers. I was pretty impressed with him, but not too surprised.  I picked a good one ;)   He got quite the ego boost and I was a proud wife.

Last weekend, we went to the U for our orientation and during the super exciting and totally not boring 3 hour presentation on harassment and cheating, Brett got a call from MarketStar! They wanted him to start their interview process called “HireVue” which is a series of  video interview questions he would have to record by Monday morning. He would have 30 seconds to read the questions, and 3 minutes to answer. We were SO excited, to say the least.

Earlier that week, we also got an offer from Farmers Insurance (Not State Farm) and they wanted both of us to come to their office that weekend so they could pitch themselves to us. We went and met with them and they wanted Brett to sign on as an actual Agent with Farmers. Right now, he is technically a “producer” for his Agent, so he brings new business into the office and sells policies like crazy. Farmers offered us an incredible compensation plan (read: $$$$$) since he would be his own agent, he would get 100% residuals, commissions, and base hourly pay, whereas right now he earns hourly+minimal commission.  It was appealing, but we have grown a loyalty to State Farm and when they couldn’t explain to us “Why Farmers?” it turned us off quite a bit. You see, State Farm is #1 in the country. You honestly won’t get better customer service, care, and coverage quite like them. We left feeling like it might be an option, but definitely not our first choice.

Well, we left SLC on Sunday night and got back SO late. We were SO tired (both of us were so sick all week and weekend and had such a jam-packed schedule for the weekend) and so we set everything up on the computer and previewed the lighting and did a few practice questions and went to bed past midnight when Brett had his first final the next morning at 9am. Everything was good and ready to go! The next morning, Brett woke up at 5:45am to get this interview done and he came in to sickly, groggy and drooling Sleeping Beauty (me) and said “our internet is out!!!!” We have had little to NO problems with our internet, EVER! And today was the morning that it decided not to work. The router is upstairs since our basement apartment doesn't have the necessary plugs or whatever for it to work, and so we couldn't wake up our neighbors who love us were sleeping at 6am to have them fix the router. So, he got all the computer stuff together and went to the school at 6am because the ELC is open 24/7 during finals week and I think the library opens early too.

Is it weird I always think our library looks like a cut egg roll?
He gets to the school and the doors are locked. The rooms are locked. The library isn’t open. AHHH! We are panicking. We were told that their panel would be viewing all the videos that morning, and he was running out of time. Brett called me from the school explaining the situation and I was just freaking out a little. I felt so bad. Finally, the library opened and he was let in. He got a study room and set up the computer to start the interview. Then, THE MIC DIDN’T WORK! 

Are you for real?


Our Monday in a nutshell
At this point, I was thinking that maybe these were very not so subtle signs that this was NOT the right thing and God was being very obvious about it. I started to get discouraged. Brett ended up doing the interview with horrible lighting and set up through his phone camera. At least it gets pretty good resolution. He finished the interview and then straight to his final. We were told that the videos from all the candidates would be viewed that morning and would be notified by the afternoon if they qualified for the second round of face to face interviews. So, we waited.

The hours passed. No phone call.

“Has anyone from MarketStar called you yet??”

“No :(”


Conversations like this took place all morning, afternoon, and late afternoon.

I picked  Brett up from work and he just looked defeated. We were so confident and I know Brett interviews fabulously since he’s just fabulous anyways and really shines in front of a crowd. I was so confused and just felt horrible.

Thus, Whine Pout Shout Day was created.

I told Brett it was his special “Whine, Pout, Shout” day and we could do anything he wanted. I snuggled him on the couch as he laid, crushed. We went and got a movie, got his favorite pizza, his favorite ice cream, and favorite chips. The early-death fear-er in me cringed, but the loving wife won this round and we enjoyed a comfort meal for Brett. I told him he wasn't allowed to smile- only whine, pout, and shout. For some reason, he only did the opposite of these things when I told him to do them! What the heck?! Oh well, I guess smiling and being happy works too;)

We didn’t get a call back. And it stunk.

The next day (today) was not a happy morning. We both took 7am and 9am finals and I could tell Brett was still just so sad about the job. We were at home eating lunch before work and I was on the computer when we got an email… from MarketStar!

Long story short, the email said that he had made it to the second round of interviews, but since they wanted Brett to focus on his finals and school, they would just use his dumb phone camera interview as his 2nd round interview. We were a little bummed about that, but it was ok. The email asked him to call them in a few hours. So, after his call, we found out…


The recruiter was showing the videos to the head honcho who makes the executive decision, and she said that after watching 5 minutes of the video, he told her to hire Brett!

No more Whine & Pout- HOORAY AND SHOUT! 

We are thrilled and I am SO proud. I am so grateful. Since this job will be a HUGE blessing financially to us, I won’t have to work at all and I will be able to put all my energy into school. I found out this weekend that I could finish in 3 semesters, 4 if I can pass the language test and place in a higher level Japanese course to minor in Japanese! I am SO excited for this new chapter of our lives and for all the amazing people who have helped us get here. Now, Brett wants to get a motorcycle so he can look cool while commuting to his cool new job;) That’ll be another post. For now, the Childs Kazoku are celebrating!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday

It has been forever and a half since I wrote a TT! But this is me actually following through with my commitment to blog more regularly! For all my new friends, let me catch you up. I started doing Thankful Thursday on my first blog and did it religiously for a couple of years. It is something that I used to look forward to all the time, and I still try to do it in my every day life now. Basically, just every Thursday, I wrote on my blog/journal/paper a few things I was thankful for that week. It always amazed me how over time (4 years) the things I was thankful for varied only minutely. There were weeks of course when I was more thankful for specific things or people, but for the most part, it always boils down to the same few things: family, the gospel, and friends/loved ones. These really are the most important things in life, in my opinion!

For as long as I can remember, Thursdays have always been my favorite day of the week. Once I started to implement Thankful Thursday, it just became that much better. I came to know that it's not just about being able to pick out a few things once a week, or even once a day, but to cultivate "An Attitude of Gratitude" as President Monson spoke about here. That talk changed my life. May we too, strive to make gratitude for our many blessings a constant in our lives- at all times and in all places. I truly believe that if everyone was able to nurture and grow an "Attitude of Gratitude," the world would just be an even more beautiful place.

1) Family
It really took me 2 years living away from my family to realize how much I love and appreciate them and how grateful I am for their presence, example, and  leadership in my life. I never realized how much my mom did for me before I moved out: breakfast ready for me every morning even though I hardly ate, packed me a great (nutritious) lunch daily, did all my laundry, paid for all my school and extra-curricular activities without ever batting an eye, supporting me in everything and anything I ever wanted to do growing up (and I did some very non-typical things growing up! ie: Wanting to change the world, travel abroad, start clubs, model, act, figure skating, cook all day..). She never told me "No" which could have and DOES backfire on probably 90% of parents, but somehow, I think I turned out pretty decent!

My brothers and sisters are just so amazing. My little brother and I would fight all the time, but now I find myself missing him and just wishing I could be there to see him through his extremely FULL and successful Senior year of high school. My nieces and nephews are just the light of my life and have grown up so much! I just admire how hard my siblings work to make the best life possible for their families and they are just the best parents ever! It makes me (kindof-not-really) want to have kids so all our kids can grow up together and go to the library, children's museum, parks, and throw birthday parties for their dolls.

2) Friends
As I brace myself for two of my three very best friends to leave on missions for a year and a half, I start crying almost daily because of how much I will miss them. Their example in my life has been a beacon and a shoulder, an open hug and an unbreakable bond. It has been absolutely priceless and irreplaceable. I envision my kids growing up with best friends who were so involved, had so much fun, got straight A's, were incredibly strong in the gospel, and to top it off, unbelievably talented and beautiful; however, I know it just isn't typical for all kids to be so lucky! I am a lucky one! My friends aren't perfect, but heck, they sure are close. I am so grateful for their love and friendship for the last 12+ years.

3) A place to live and God's answer to prayer
We've been looking for a place to live since January, and it has been a dead end hunt this entire  time. Everywhere we've inquired to has told us we're wayyy too early. As in, "call the week of you want to move and you'll have better luck." Do you think that boded well with littlemissplanner over here? Heck.No. So, it's been stressful to say the least. Everywhere we looked in our budget was less than half the size of our current apartment, and double the price! How does that work?? I thought we might even have to be subjected to living in a studio which, let's be real: I'd die (#wimp).

We got a call earlier this week from a place we put our name down for just in case, even though it was something we could afford, I just couldn't stomach forking over $200 more a month thank what we currently pay to live there, even though it had a dishwasher (my dream). But, we thought that the offer might not come again and the nightmares of  living in ONE ROOM or NO ROOM scared me enough to just take it. We paid the $140 deposit less than 20 minutes after they called because we just felt so pressured and rushed "We have 4 other people who are waiting for your response and if you don't get back to us within the hour you'll forfeit your chances of ever living here" (no pressure).

I just felt sick about it and both of us were grateful to have a place to live, but we didn't feel good about it (though I will admit I was secretly jumping up and down inside for the thought of having a dishwasher). They immediately sent us over about 30 pages of paperwork to fill out, and needed all this information from us including affidavits from each of us saying we were actually married and going to school, our employment and living history for the last three years, tax stuff, etc. etc. It was just so overwhelming and it took us a few hours and a lot of minutes on the phone trying to figure everything out that they wanted from us. While we were taking an extended lunch break at Brett's office just getting everything in by their deadline, feeling so stressed, I got an email from the housing we applied for close to campus in February!

The email came about 24 hours after we had accepted the offer and wanted us to pay $150 deposit to accept it. This time, we decided not to be quite so rash and called the office and asked them questions, looked it up online, and thought about it for a second. Of course, I felt so conflicted since we already paid the other deposit and we'd lose it if we didn't accept, but in the long run, this new place might be better... I of course made a venn-diagram of the pros and cons, and just decided that we needed to take this second option! So, we slept on it, and paid our deposit! Which leads me to...

4) God works in mysterious ways :)
I was sick thinking we'd lost the deposit from the first apartment, but today, Brett got an email saying that for some reason our routing number or something was wrong on the bank information we used, and they didn't pull anything from our account! $140 saved! woot woot! SO Grateful, as we could use every penny right now!

5) Life in General
It's a pretty busy life with both of us working and going to school almost 100 hours a week between the both of us, serving in our callings, moving to new jobs, a new house, a new school, and a new city, but I'm so grateful for the journey. We've been married for almost an entire year now, and the journey has just been awesome. Awesome in the literal sense of full of awe and wonder and amazement. It has definitely not been easy at times, but the good times outnumber the harder one a million to one. I'm especially grateful for the most loving husband a girl could have. Seriously, I'd say for the most part everyone wants to marry someone who can sing like an angel, testify at all times, be strong, be smart, talk, want to resolve conflict, know another language, was the football captain, lead in the school plays, musical, a born leader, and thinks of the cutest, most thoughtful gifts and ways to make me feel so special, and on top of that, is a hunk! ;) Well, I didn't have to look very far after I met Brett! I found my prince charming early in life and I'm so grateful for him. He is such an example to everyone around him and especially me.

 I'm so grateful we are where we are, that we got to experience life here in Southern Utah, and just enjoy living. I'm so grateful for the friendships and relationships I have, grateful that we've always had a meal to eat and been able to always pay our bills and still get to buy organic at the grocery store and occasionally go out for a nice treat or splurge. I'm so grateful for our health and the knowledge that I've gained about it and the foods we eat.

 I'm grateful we have been so blessed. I don't believe life will ever slow down until we're retired, so I feel bad ever complaining about being busy, especially since we're so blessed to be busy going to school getting educated, being busy because we have lots of success at work, and busy serving others and being with family and friends. It's a beautiful kind of busy!

I kindof had a bad day, and I already feel better. I promise that being grateful is what will cast out bitterness, anger, hatred, stress, or anything negative in your life! I guarantee it! What a beautiful blessing it is to recognize our blessings! Have a great weekend, friends! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Update: Our Trip, A new passion, and more!

I used to blog like 3 times a week, but then _______ (Insert any of the following: I fell in love, went to college, got a job on a computer and therefore didn't want to use any computer when I got home, got lazy, instagrammed instead, didn't make time, lost track of where my camera went after I got an iPhone..)

So, here's a little update collage. I learned how to do this one on Picasa, and I don't really love the program. Oh well, when I learn how to make better ones I'll be sure to post them!

Japan Trip
We started talking a few weeks ago what we wanted to do in the next couple years with our savings. A house, a car, etc. etc. 

When I was young, my mom imbued within me a deep and passionate addiction to travelling that I just can't seem to curb! I am blessed to be able to have full and worn passports, seeing many distant lands and peoples. I love seeing the world and experiencing new tastes, smells, languages, cultures, and sites. I just love it, and I've gotten Brett to love it too since we've been together, as I've been able to show him what a REAL vacation is since we've been married. His only experience and interpretation of a vacation was visiting his grandparent's farm in Salina, Utah once a year. Haha. It's like my travelling second-hand smoke that infected him! We have been blessed to travel to a lot of different, amazing places in the last 11 months and do so many fun and incredible things. We got to talking and we knew that if we had kids or some other things were to come to pass in the coming years that the next 2 decades would make our family vacations go as far as Salina (not that that would be the worst thing in the world). So 2 days later, we made a big purchase and booked 2 tickets to Japan! We are thrilled and couldn't be more excited. Brett gets to show me all over his mission area, and we'll be able to visit his 'home' ward for 2 Sundays. I even made a collage of all the amazing things we plan to eat and places to visit with a countdown chain.. I can't wait! One of the best parts-- we get to go to Tokyo Disneyland on our anniversary! Woot! :D

My New Passion: Nutrition
Lately, I've been becoming more and more conscious about the foods we consume and the way we (as in Americans and society in general) really need to educate ourselves more. I'm currently in a class about Nutrition through the Life Cycle. It has been FASCINATING to say the least. It is my favorite class and I am like a sponge, soaking up all the material. Even though the class is early in the morning in the furthest building from our house on campus, I just can't get enough and look forward to it daily. I am learning so much about nutrition for women, pregnancy, infants and children. This has resulted in many discussions between us about what kind of nutrition we agree on and desire for our family. 

I've always been a health-conscious person, and have always tried to eat healthy, and nutrient-dense foods. However, I can tell you that my diet today contains foods I never knew about 6 months ago, and does not include foods that I have eaten my whole life. I have been doing a lot of research on GMOs, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), dyes and colorings, MSG, preservatives, added sugars, and whole foods. I can't tell you how much more empowered I feel in this short amount of time I have really been focusing on this. In my cooking, I don't like using ingredients with ingredient labels that take the entire length of the box. If I can't pronounce it, I have a hard time putting it in my body or to give it to anyone. Anytime I can, I make things from scratch if at all possible. I shop around the perimeter of the grocery store and threw away everything in our pantry that was just full of chemicals and harmful foods.

 I have become pretty passionate about it and though I am not crazy-full blown into it, I make changes where I can. I am definitely not perfect but I have been more conscious. I think that this is all I can ask. I just want to share this information with everyone! I truly believe we put too much trust into the food industry, which has resulted in an epidemic of obese families (mothers, fathers, teens, children, and infants) and a rise in diseases, diabetes, and other metabolic and physical issues. I believe it is abusing the beautiful bodies God gave us when we just keep filling it with toxins and excess fat, sugar, and junk!

 I have seen a difference! When I first met Brett, he constantly suffered from bad acne. He always complained about it and he was always fatigued and fell asleep every day during class and other daily activities. After we got married, and he switched off of the "Single-bachelor-21-tuna-macaroni&cheese-spaghettios-oreos-milk-cereal" diet (which is what he ate pretty much daily) to a diet that included foods like FRUITS and VEGETABLES and WATER, he and I noticed that his acne wasn't nearly as bad. He had energy, and overall, just looked and felt better. I myself also feel this way.  Anyways, long story short, I am makin' changes! And I love it! 

Other Stuff:
Last month, we had family pictures with the Childs family. It was the first time in 20+ years that everyone in the family had been all together in once place. It was amazing! I just absolutely LOVE the Childs family and I'm so proud and humbled to be in their ranks. I married into an incredible, loving, righteous family. I am so blessed.

This last General Conference, it was announced that it was revealed that Cedar City is ready to receive a temple! WOW! It was amazing to hear that announcement. Right after the opening prayer, I got this thought in my head that said "Cedar will be getting a temple" it came more as a fact than a question. I got goosebumps that seconds later, my prompting deemed prophetic. Brett and I had heard that the church had acquired a 22-acre plot of land in Cedar City on Cove Lane last November. So, as rumors circulated, we decided that would probably be the only feasible location so we went this week and walked around. Cedar City has become our home- it's the place we met, the place we go to school, and the first home we came back to after we got married. It has been a fun and FAST 2 years here and I'll definitely be sad to leave in the coming months. We will be back for a date at the Pastry Pub and a session at the temple when it is completed though:) 

In other news, life is great! I love my Brett, I love my ward and my girls in my Relief Society. It is sad to see so many of the families in our ward moving on to graduate school, medical school, dental school, and other pursuits, but it is a great time in life where we have so many life-changing changes. Plus, we will be one of the ones moving! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2012 for the Childs

I wrote a little newsletter email to send out to all our family and friends for new years. I figured it would sum up the year and help create some framework for this blog. So here is our 2012 in review, so to say:)

Dear Friends and Family:
2012 was extremely good to our family! We started off the year freshly engaged, and started a long, hard semester at Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City before our wedding in May. We won a Facebook contest for a free honeymoon (I'm sure you remember!) in February, stayed up really late wanting to be with each other while neglecting our homework, and planned a beautiful wedding and got sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on May 11 for time and all eternity! It was a beautiful day! In the process, Lisa gained 4 parents, 8 siblings, and more relatives than she could ever fathom and Brett gained 5 nieces and nephews! We finished fall semester (Brett did MUCH better now that he has a live-in tutor;) and we took an institute class together on Thursday evenings, where we served as class presidents for our "Building an Eternal Marriage" course. We enjoyed travelling many places this year, including a belated honeymoon on a Cruise to Mexico, a surprise trip for Lisa to Hawaii for Thanksgiving, Arizona for Christmas, and many trips all over Utah, Las Vegas, California, and New York. We also decided that our time in Cedar City, Utah was over and aspire to move up north to the Provo area this summer. We have both applied to the University of Utah and Brigham Young University and will hear back from them at the end of February! We have loved being married almost 8(!!) months now. It's hard to believe it's already been that long, and short at the same time. We have been so lucky to find each other and be in a position where we could get married in the temple, live in our own tiny-but-cute apartment, and fall in love more and more each day. We are best friends and have an awesome relationship. 
In California
Lisa had three different jobs this year: The Honors office at SUU (which she did not enjoy very much), SubZero Ice Cream (which she enjoyed even less and was very short-lived), and is currently employed with a doTERRA consultant who owns her own business doing essential oils, natural/alternative medicines, and home-doctoring. She has enjoyed working there and has learned a lot of interesting new stuff. Lisa filmed another Mormon Message for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in April. She got to meet Alex Boye and a few other "I'm a Mormon" people. She has loved working with the Church and sharing her testimony. Currently only 3 credits away from an Associates degree, she has been doing very well taking hard classes towards her Communications major. Last semester, she took a drawing class which she really enjoyed. She got called earlier this year to be a Relief Society teacher, and currently serves as the Relief Society President in our Married Student Ward, which she loves. Lisa is usually at school, work, or at home cooking delicious meals and baked goods for Brett and friends!
Brett started a new job in February at State Farm Insurance, which he loves. We studied long and hard together each day for several weeks so he could pass his test to get his Property and Casualty license, in addition to his Life and Health. He has absolutely loved working at State Farm and really believes in the product and company. He is an excellent salesman and has thrived at the office. Insurance is his favorite thing to talk about, and he is quite an expert at it now! He especially loves to talk about Life Insurance, and is constantly learning more about it and hoping to share it with everyone he encounters! We have been blessed to experience a lot of success with State Farm. He is currently aspiring to become a State Farm Agent, and is becoming a stronger candidate with every passing month. Because of his success and interest in the insurance world, Brett changed from a Biology-aspiring doctor major to an International Business major. He hopes to be able to use his Japanese and Spanish skills in the future. He has been taking Spanish classes for about a year and half and has grown to be a talented Spanish-speaker! He still snowboards, sings, plays guitar and Zelda whenever he can, and enjoys his calling as an Elders Quorum Teacher. Brett played on an intramural flag football team this semester and LOVED it!
For 2013, We aspire to take our Associates degrees to BYU (our first choice) or the U. Either way, we will be so happy to move closer to family, friends, and opportunities. We also realize we will be subject to higher cost of living, busy and congested roads, and LOTS of people, which after almost 2 years of living in Cedar City, we almost forgot about. But, we are incredibly excited for this move and can't wait for the new and exciting opportunities that are in store for us there! Brett hopes to get into BYU, his dream school, and Lisa hopes to blog more and wishes for a puppy! We both hope to learn how to play the piano, somehow. Both of us have only a little bit of experience, but regret daily (and especially on Sundays) that we are unable to play as much as we wish we could.
We are so blessed. Oftentimes, we will just have talks about our wonderful families and friends who help enrich and bless our lives. We have been able to go to school and get a wonderful education, be free from major illness or ailments, and have been blessed to both have employment through these turbulent times. We can't help but thank you for being a part of our lives and for the love and support you offer us!
Best wishes for the New Year!
Love, Brett and Lisa

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Hawaiian Holiday

My wonderful mom and Brett surprised me with a trip to HAWAII for Thanksgiving this year! I thought we were going to Arizona for Thanksgiving, only to get off the freeway when we got to Las Vegas to go to the airport! What a wonderful and happy surprise!
All of us meeting up at the Honolulu Airport
ALOHA from the Childs!   
 My mom has a driver for all the times she is in Hawaii, Mr. Lee. He brought us these warm, delicious Malasadas when he greeted us at the airport! Yummmm!
Huge turtle that came up on shore at Turtle Bay
Brett and KJ enjoying their many, many plates of Gyoza!

At the Laie Hawaii Temple. It was stunning!
The Visitor's center in Hawaii

Kahuku High, where my mom went to High School. This was the day of the state football championships, and Kahuku was playing (apparently they play in it every year, and win) (oh, they won)

Our Thanksgiving Feast
My mom arranged for a scuba diver to come down into the tank full of sea creatures with a sign that wished me an early birthday. It was the COOLEST birthday wish I'd ever gotten in my life!

The whole clan at the dinner. It was amazing!

Thanksgiving Day Ice Cream at the famous Lapperts. I got Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Chip.

Thanksgiving day lunch

This one bird would not stop pestering us at the table we were sitting at outside and I did not like it! Everyone else tried feeding it and everything, but I pouted and had to get away before I freaked out!

We were at the beach every spare minute we got! It was amazingly blue and clear and beautiful!
On the North Shore at Matsumotos Shaved Ice. it was soooo yummy!
Beautiful Leis

The BEST Holiday ever!! Thanks again Mom! Love you!!