A Girl Can Dream...Right?

So I need to preface this post to say that I have been notorious for writing letters when I want something while growing up.  For instance, when I was around 13, I wrote my parents a letter explaining why I should get a debit card (they weren't convinced).  When I was 17, I wrote my parents a letter explaining why I should be allowed to go to Disneyland for my prom activity (again, didn't work--their excuse: what if my honeymoon wasn't as fun as my prom activity to Disneyland!  Well I assure you--and I assured them already--that it ended up being a million times more fun than any prom activity could have been!).  So you get the idea.  But apparently I was never a good enough writer ha!

Well, I've been pining away for Beach Cruisers.  I literally fall asleep most nights to visions of beach cruisers dancing in my head.  I see glimpses of picnics, and ice cream runs on our cute beach cruisers.  Mine equipped with a basket, Brett's with a bell.  Anyways, in a desperate attempt to convince Brett that we should get some, I wrote him an email one day.  Here it is:

Dear Brett,
I wouldn't be myself if I didn't write you a letter explaining my desperate need for a beach cruiser.  The following link provides a picture of my dream cruiser for an unreal deal.  I think we should call on it this afternoon when you get off work. 

{insert Craigslist link that unfortuantely was gone by the time we called}

Why do we need beach cruisers, you ask?  Well, first of all, we are getting chubby.  Chubbiness is not an ideal look for me.  But baby, I want to look GOOD for you!  Purchasing beach cruisers will put an "uppity-up" spin on being active.  It will be an enticing way to exercise. 

Another reason we need beach cruisers, is because it helps save the environment.  We are going GREEN Brett.  We are in denial of this, but regardless of what we say, here is the proof: we have a compost pile, we are working on a garden, we are raising chickens, and we recycle!  We need bikes to help save the air.  I am not saying we will give up our cars, but riding our bikes leisurely will be another small way we contribute to a better world for our future children.

Another reason: we must PICNIC!  Seriously, we are such foodies, that planning activities around food has become second-nature to us.  Beach cruisers will allow for endless opportunities to plan activities around food via picnicking.  Can you not see us now on a late breezy afternoon eating chicken salad sandwhiches, sipping lemonade, and eating divine chocolate chip cookies on our denim blanket with our beach cruisers leaning up against the nearby tree?  That is basically a dream that can soon become a reality. 

And lastly, if you are not already convinced, I must reiterate my point with a commandment.  In the Family: A Proclamation to the World it states that: "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and WHOLESOME RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES" (emphasis added).  Basically, President Hinckley was asking all husbands to purchase beach cruisers for their wives.  Because beach cruisers scream "I am a wholesome recreational activity!". 

Thank you for listening to my reasoning.  I know you will understand why it is essential for us to be beach cruiser owners.  Brett Wells Allred, you have given me a debit card and credit card (without me even having to write you a letter of persuasion), and if you get us some beach cruisers, you will have made my wildest dreams come true :) 

I love you baby!

Love your sweet wife,

Can you tell I was bored today?  I think you were probably able to sense the sarcasm and humor in my letter :)  Whatever happens, I love you babe!  Even if we don't get beach cruisers for a while (but seriously consider it!)  hehe xoxo 

Sorry this was such a long post...
But honestly--just admit that you are convinced you need a beach cruiser now!

What We've Been Up To...

At the Sugar Bowl with some great friends!
Brett, Me, Jacob Camille, Alexis, Clint

An intense water volleyball game at Brown Family Home Evening Swim Party
You can tell Carson went to Japan on his mission--the peace sign :)

 Took a spin in Haley's new car!  We took a little drive to Sonic during Happy Hour!

typical sisters

 Loving the netflix mailer as a replacement for a broken taillight

Grilled Banana Splits

The other night after our family night activity, Brett and I tried out grilled banana splits.  What are grilled banana splits, you ask? 

Just take a banana and split the peel in half, but leaving it on.  Stuff the banana peel with any goodies you want to.  Then, roll the banana in aluminum foil and put on a hot grill for 3-5 minutes.  We put it on closer to 3 minutes, but we should have left it on slightly longer.  We put a swipe of butter, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and a large marshmallow (torn into pieces) on each of our bananas.  We think next time we'll incorporate some peanut butter somehow!  And we will definitely do the butterscotch chips everytime (Brett's fabulous idea). 

Once removed from grill, unwrap the aluminum foil and top the banana with ice cream.  The grill makes everything into a gooey, delicious mess! 

After a long day...not the best picture of us, but the post needed a few faces :)

Home[made] Comfort Food: Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

Have you ever had Paradise Bakery's Fire Roasted Tomato Soup?  It is so good!  I don't even like tomato soup either.  Campbell's tomato soup is so yucky.  But this soup is full of flavor!  Not too tomato-y and just the perfect comfort food.  Add a dollop of sour cream!

We had it tonight with grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade bread and sharp cheddar cheese. 

I found this knock-off recipe on this website.  It makes a huge batch, so I always half the recipe and we still have plenty.  And for the tomatoes, I use Hunt's canned "Fire Roasted Tomatoes" (and when I half it, I use 3 cans total).  And instead of blending the soup in a blender, I use a hand blender and just leave it in the pot, so much easier (if you don't have a hand blender, you should definitely invest in one!).  Here is the recipe:

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
2 -28 to 32 oz cans tomatoes (use ready cut to simplify)
1 -32 oz bottle fire roasted tomatoes (or sun-dried tomatoes)
2 -8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 -6 oz cans tomato paste
8 cups water (add 8-10 bouillon cubes)
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cups milk or cream

- In a large soup kettle, saute onion in olive oil until almost translucent
- Add garlic and continue to saute a few minutes more
- Add tomatoes, sauce, and paste—along with water
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes
- Puree in blender until desired consistency (use hand blender)
- Add milk/cream and seasonings and continue to simmer for another 5-10 min

We are Featured!

We were just featured on this fun dating blog!  Check it out!  They have loads of dating ideas!

Date Night: "Cheesy" Idea for a Date Night In

Our newlywed friends Jacob and Camille have a fun dating blog that I love to follow.  When I saw this post, I knew we needed to put our fondue pot to good use.  So we had a fantastic date night in.  I used a different cheese fondue recipe, and I used white grape juice instead of white wine.  My cheese fondue did not turn out exactly the right consistency, but it still was delicious!

A photo of the feast

We have some amazing photography skills! 
And I am obviously very photogenic, ha!

For the dipping, we had cajun turkey from the deli (which was super delicious!), slightly steamed brocolli (just to take the raw crunch out of it), apples, and homemade artisan bread (I'll need to post that easy recipe soon!).  We also had some grapes and a salad with chopped pecans and strawberries (forgot to buy some feta cheese).  It was super tasty and suprisingly very filling.  We didn't eat all of the food--not even close. 

After we let our stomachs settle, unlike Jacob and Camille, we ALWAYS have room for dessert :)  So we whipped up some chocolate fondue.  And the things to dip included strawberries, bananas, homemade chocolate chip cookies, graham crackers, and pretzel rods. 

Another fun and inexpensive (although splurge a bit on yummy cheese and cajun turkey) date night in.  It was a unique way to eat a meal that we would recommend!  We think we need to do it with a group next time.  Thanks Jacob and Camille for the great idea!


Two homemade things that we have been loving on lately are:

These homemade chicken taquitos--recipe found here.  We were very pleased with how they turned out.  And they were very filling!


This homemade laundry detergent!  Super easy and inexpensive to make!  The recipe I used is found here.  It yields about 16 pounds of detergent.  I have used it for lots of loads already and it smells wonderful and cleans very well. 

What are your favorite homemade things?

Date Night: Planetarium

Since Brett and I had a mid-week lunch date at Grimaldi's, we decided to have lower key date nights this weekend.  We decided to take up the opportunity of the MCC Astronomy Night.  Every first Friday of the month, they have a free event where they have telescopes set up outside (we saw Saturn!) and a really cool presentation inside the planetarium.  Every month the theme changes.  The one we saw was called "Tour of the Universe" and it was put to the "Dark Side of the Moon" soundtrack by Pink Floyd.  They have a presentation every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 9:30 pm.  And if you have to wait, you can peruse the posters and information everywhere or color a coloring page (like I did!).  As we were talking about space, we were discussing the order of the planets.  All I could think of was Uranus (remember those dumb 7th grade science jokes?  Ha, I'm so mature!) and Brett proceeded to ramble off all the planets in the right order--including where the asteroid belt was.  He credits his Willcox education to his amazing knowledge and memory.  At least one of us is smart!

I've been sporting a scarf in the hair lately.  Yay or nay?
I can't decide.  But I do like that it hides dirty hair!
After the presentation, we had to get a treat.  So we jetted down Dobson over to Angel Sweet, the gelato shop in Riverview Plaza.  Not the most authentic Italian gelato (or so I hear from those who know), but tasty all the same!  I got half mango-half coconut and Brett got chocolate oreo.  And the post wouldn't be complete without some food pictures!

As you can see, we enjoyed the gelato!  A very fun and cheap date!  For information on the planetarium, click here!

Weekend Getaway

Our brother and sister-in-law, Matthew and Maren, and their three kids were heading to Sedona for a camping trip and invited us to join.  It ended up that the same day they called Brett found out that he had Saturday off.  So right after he got off work on Friday evening, we headed up to Sedona to meet up with them! 

Brett holding our nephew Travis.  We woke up to little voices outside of our tent saying "Happy morning!  Are you awake in there?"  We loved it!

Maren and baby Cooper.  He can be bashful, but it is so cute

Right before the yummy breakfast Matthew made for us.  Sorry for more pictures of no make-up and pajamas. 

After breakfast, we headed to Slide Rock.  It was a blast!  Neither of us had ever been, and we are so glad we were able to make the trip! 
Travis and Morgan a little chilly in the cool water

Cutie-pie Morgan

Love Travis

Just hanging out

Matthew, Maren, and Cooper (I just can't get enough of Cooper!)

About to go down the slide (gotta love my shorts and coordinating swimsuit!)

Snack Time!

The whole crew

We had a fabulous time and hope to plan another camping trip soon!

What We've Been Up To

Mid-week lunch date with Brett near his work building.  We went to Grimaldi's Pizzeria.  So yummy!  We would really reccommend this restaurant. 
We order a pepperoni pizza (the pepperoni has a great kick) and a Mediterranean salad.

We celebrated my Great-Grandpa Breinholt's 92nd Birthday!  
Apparently he was distracted, and didn't look at the camera 

Brett whipping up some of his "Killer Omelets" (named by himself, but they really are!)

Seeing Harry Potter opening weekend down in Sierra Vista.  We went with Brett's two brothers and their wives (Matthew and Maren hadn't arrived yet). 

The giddy Allred Boys: Michael and Brett

Kami, Michael, Brett, Me

Pizookies in Pajamas!  We recently purchased a new air mattress and put it to good use by blowing it up in our living room and watching "Back to the Future" while eating pizookies.  I love fun, free dates like this! 

Please excuse the no make-up and granny nightgown (but I love my nightgowns!)