Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! Here are just a few of the lovely highlights of our vacation (so far):

Christmas with the Tate's on the 19th. It was so nice to have everyone together, no matter what day of the month it was.

Jon enjoyed playing with our new game- Wii Fit. It was a hit with the Tates and the Van Wickles!

We have totally been enjoying the weather! Even we sometimes forget just how nice it is here.

And of course we've been having fun with the Van Wickle's. Jon loves spending time with the boys. This is from a hike to lizard's mouth.

Today we opened presents at Jon's and went to a movie with my parents and Amy. So far, so good. We are so thankful we have another week to soak up the sun and play with the family! More updates to come. Hope all of your Christmas' are just as delightful.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas at our place!

FIRST- because Jon and I are so sad we couldn't be there and SO happy for this person: JAKE! Congratulations on graduating from Cal Poly!!! We hope it was amazing and can't wait to hear what comes next for you.

SECOND- we are DONE with finals! Sometimes I feel like I live life counting down- just until the weekend, just until this exam is over, once this project is finished or once the semester wraps up. I try to be happy and find the joy in the process but there really is a positive and uplifting feeling about wrapping up a semester. It is like you have accomplished something, progressed forward and now you can look back and appreciate it. Really, this semester has had its ups and downs, but I loved my time and it flew by!

THIRD- Jon and I had the perfect ending to our semester. Here is what we did today.

We went to our "final" for English where we watched 11 presentations. As interesting as these topics were- it got old real fast.

Then we got to go to the temple.
ok so this wasn't a good part of our day but it is true: Satan made us get in a fight. ANY time we go to the temple something big happens and changes our plans or we get into a "nothing fight." Meaning really- the "fight" is about nothing. Jon quickly pointed out we must be doing some important work at the temple to cause us to have a nothing fight. We made up quickly after that.
The temple was perfect, peaceful and I felt truly relaxed and happy. You always come out of the temple feeling cleansed and renewed.
The Provo temple kind of looks like a cup cake:

View of the sunset from temple grounds:

We then went out to dinner at GoodWood. Yumm. We even got dessert, which I really shouldn't have done but I did anyway. It was delicious.
I realize this picture is kind of dark, I didn't want to use flash in the resturant. It also makes it look like Jon doesn't have a hand:

We ended our evening opening our Christmas presents to each other. I got Jon's watch fixed so he can finally wear it again and got him a new belt. He got me a blow-dryer and a pyrex pan. Seriously, I know it sounds lame, but those gifts were perfect for me. Things I really needed and didn't want to buy myself- also, completely practical.

Jon snoozed off while watching the Dark Knight and I went to the gym. I am trying to get off my work out high so I can get some sleep. Tomorrow we go to work, pack up, and head home! We sure are excited to see everyone.

One last thing, today I made little thank you notes for my professors and supervisor who wrote me letters of rec. I like how they turned out- simple but personal:

Up next: California Christmas Adventures

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2 years ago, yesterday...

This is a little embarrassing, but at 11:30 last night in the shower I remembered: It's December 15th! Two years ago (yesterday) Jon asked me to marry him and I said YES!

I don't know if people are supposed to remember the day they got engaged, or celebrate it... Jon and I aren't as big on that as I know others are. With everything except our wedding date, we typically remember and say congratulations and go about our day. Nevertheless, I am happy we got engaged, despite how much we had talked about it I remember being so incredibly nervous. I could tell Jon was as well. I often tell people that saying yes was the best decision I ever made- and I mean it.

We sure are lucky to have each other. Last night, after I remembered I crawled into bed and whispered to Jon that it was our engagement anniversary. He said something like "oh that's nice," and really- that was enough for me. Supporting each other during finals, secretly buying Christmas presents for the other, working out together- all of those things were enough of an anniversary celebration for me.

Love you, Jon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiny Update

Finals week has began! I don't want to bore everyone with the details. All you need to know is Jon and I have been studying hard and looking forward to the end of the semester. It has been a good term and we are glad we had a couple of classes together.

We are soo excited for Christmas break and seeing our family. We leave the 18th, the last day of finals! Hooray!

I've "finished" all of my grad school applications! Now I just have to make sure everyone does their letters of rec in time, make sure all of my information has been received and wait patiently. Ha. Patiently.

After Thursday afternoon, the scheduled time for our last final, we will be done and hopefully doing more entertaining things to blog about. Until then - good luck with your finals and Christmas plans!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Good Morning snow

I woke up this morning and looked out our window to find this:

Its time to truly welcome the winter!

I spent this weekend designing the Tate Christmas card, listening to Christmas music and adding to / looking at wishlists. It is a good time of year. Happy Holiday Season everyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Moment of Celebration

I never have to take the GRE again!!! I am sooo happy.
After trying to take it once but them not letting me because of name change and ID issues, I am so so so happy to be finished with it.

As I've been told by many people, "all the GRE represents is how well you take the GRE".

I am happy enough with my score, and ready to move on to bigger and better things!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our 2nd Thanksgiving

It always seems sad to not be with family during important holidays, and family is always on our mind during those holidays. However, Thanksgiving has become a nice holiday that Jon and I can create some of our own traditions. I also consider it good practice for when we can get together with family, hopefully in the future.

I spent more time thinking of aesthetics this year... remember last year? I think we did a little better this time around...

I don't think Jon wanted to take this picture, I think he was anxious to EAT!

After we ate less than half the food we made (Thanksgiving doesn't offer a lot of items appropriate for only 2 people), but were stuffed, we put up Christmas lights! They look so great in our homey little place, I love them.

We made some happy memories yesterday. Including making a big pile of blankets and pillows, watching a movie and drinking cider. So while we can't wait for Christmas, this sure was a good little tradition for the two of us.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We are thankful for...

[Jon and I sat down and made this list of things we are thankful for this year]

2. each other
3. that it's senior year!
4. our home
5. the gospel
6. healthy bodies
7. low tuition and FAFSA
8. that we get to go home at Christmas
9. good books
10. a temple close by

While this list is short it means a lot to us, we sure have a lot to be grateful for this year.

Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends! Love, Jon and Rachel

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where did November go?

Doesn't it feel like Halloween was two days ago? Or is it just me? Tomorrow we have classes and then it is Thanksgiving break! Hooray! We'll be staying in town and missing our families, but happy to have some time off.

Anyway, I thought you all might like to see how those T-shirts I designed turned out. They decided on some different coloring options so the design looks different than intended, but I am still happy with it. Best part? They let me get one for Jon too, even though he isn't part of the club.
Now Jon and I can ride around on our bikes in matching shirts and spandex... oh wait no... those are my parents.

Also, I have been working away on applications the past couple of weeks. My first application is due December 1st (the info that gets mailed in has another month, however). Here are the folders I put together for the people I am asking letters of recommendation from. They have the deadlines, an academic resume, my personal statement, and all the information for the schools I am applying to and what they require.

I am excited that things are coming along and getting accomplished.

I hope you all have a happy thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mint Chocolate Fudge

(Disclaimer: Jon and I eat healthy 99% of the time. But those meals and dishes are not featured on this blog... because they're boring. I often feel like I only post about the sweets we make. So, mothers, do not worry, we get our fruits and veggies, I promise!)

Jon and I have been long time fans of making candy. Candy is sometimes a better thing to make than cookies or cakes, because they're so easy to give away and you don't eat as much because they're so rich. We have created some of our own recipes for sweets and treats we like. We changed up a normal fudge recipe last night to create some delicious results, so I thought I would share.

Fantasy MINT-chocolate Fudge
3/4 Cup butter or margarine
3 Cups sugar
1 5 oz. can or 2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mint chips
1 7 oz. jar jet puffed marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla
(nuts optional, we don't like nuts)

Mix butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in a heavy/large saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil on medium heat, stir constantly. Continue boiling for 5 minutes over medium heat, stir constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat. Stir in chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Pour into buttered 8x8" pan (or 9x9" depending on desired thickness)

TIP: do not scrape the sides of the saucepan when you pour in the fudge- you don't want the crystallized parts to mix in with the creamy fudge!

Cool at room temp (about 4 hours), then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Like I said earlier, candy is the best sweet to share. You don't need a lot of it to make someones day sweeter. I quickly put these together for the girls I visit teach at church:

Love, your chocolatiers, Jon and Rachel

[picture from after the Regina Spektor concert]

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pic to come

I've been waiting for my friend to post some pictures from our Regina Spektor concert, but unfortunately they haven't had the time.

I know its been a while, so I thought I would at least post an update. The concert itself was a-ma-zing. Regina played the piano and sang, played the keyboard and sang, played the guitar and sang, sang a capella, played the piano WHILE hitting a chair with a stick while singing! It was an incredible show. Unfortunately, with general admission, you have some moments of people pushing you around, or standing right in front of you. But considering that we came fairly late, I was happy with our experience.

That night we stayed in Salt Lake City so we wouldn't have to drive home after, and could enjoy some time together. It was just what we needed- on Saturday morning we had a delicious breakfast at the hotel, wandered around the gateway, and got hot chocolate. Perfect.

This week has been relatively slow. I've been able to work a lot on my graduate school applications and am soon going to be asking my professors for letters of recommendation. I am excited, but nervous, and hoping all of this is worth my time. I really am not sure that I will get into any of the 3 schools I am applying to. But Jon and I are taking a "if its meant to be, it will" approach.

This was also Jon and my first week of our new eating and exercise regiment. Since I've finished the half marathon I needed some new goals to keep me active, so Jon and I have been working hard.

We only have THREE more weeks of classes, and then finals! This semester has gone by so quickly, but it has been very good. Jon and I have two classes together, one of which seems a little suspicious in how it grades us:

Rachel's Grades
393 400
Oct 1, 2009 9:50 AM 95% 100
IRB Proposal
Oct 13, 2009 12:02 PM 98% 100

Nov 9, 2009 11:29 AM 100% 200

Jon's Grades
393 400
Oct 1, 2009 9:48 AM 95% 100
IRB Proposal

Oct 13, 2009 12:02 PM 98% 100

Nov 9, 2009 11:28 AM 100% 200

Hmmmm, suspicious? Its ok with us though, the teacher apparently likes our work! (To be fair, the second project was a group project that we worked on together.)

This morning we woke up to the first snowfall of the season, it was lovely. We are thinking that this Christmas we will get some lights, and a little tree for our apartment. We are looking forward to the upcoming season.

As one last note, please look at this adorable picture from when my family came to Utah, I love it:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Regina Spektor

Part of our weekend plans include going to the Regina Spektor concert in Salt Lake City on Friday. We could not be more excited.

Here are a couple of our favorite songs, for those of you who may not be familiar with the ingenious Regina- or simply love to listen to her music, like we do.

I found her life story really interesting, if you care to check that out as well. It is on wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Half Marathon

First of all, I HUGE thank you to whoever left me this note and some focus-food last week! It was soo nice and thoughtful, and I seriously don't know who did it. It really helped keep my spirits up.

So, the halloween half marathon was this past weekend, and so much fun! The girls and I decided to dress up as where's waldo, which meant that we had easy costumes to run in. And it was super appropriate for the large crowd we were in.

Jon was my biggest fan and huge supporter! He was such a sweetie, he helped doctor all my blisters, got my chocolate milk, and let me do whatever I wanted the rest of the day. It made the run totally worth it.

Overall there are some things that I would have done differently if I had known, but I am so happy I finished and can say that I completed a half marathon. My finishing time was 2 hours 33 minutes. Slower than usual, but an accomplishment nonetheless. At this point, I am not sure I will ever want to run again :)

While I rested up, Jon enjoyed playing with the tattoos we got in our halloween package. This was my personal favorite:

Last week was insane, and this week is also pretty demanding. But luckily we have some fun plans this weekend to look forward to. More information to come later!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mid Semester

Wow, we are already half way through this semester! It is going by quickly, it is really surprising.

Next week is looking extra crazy, I am taking the GRE on Tuesday (so long as my ID and name change difference work out), running my half marathon on Saturday, and it feels like I have something due in every class. There is really nothing I love more than the look of a full planner:

Jon also has plenty of assignments and midterms this week. It is nice to have on-campus jobs when school is our #1 priority, they tend to be flexible with our schedules when we need time off. Thank goodness!

Fall is beautiful here, it is getting colder, but the trees changing color are worth the temperature change. Along with spring, I think it has been my favorite season in Utah.

Anyway- we might be a little slim on blogging this week. But we wish you all a wonderful week!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salt Lake City

Oh so many things to blog about, and yet so little time! We have been happy to have visits and love from so many family members recently.

Here is a quick re-cap of the past week.

Auntie Ruthie and Kathleen came to Provo for a work conference, and we all went out to dinner at Carrabbas. So yummy! All of their food is made fresh, everything from the noodles, to sauce and even the dressings. It was so nice to have their company and catch up.
On Tuesday we went to Salt Lake and met them at the temple. Jon, Kathleen and I had never been through the SLC temple before, it is a little different from the others, but very very beautiful! The details inside were amazing, it felt like a history tour as you went through it. The pioneer's labor of love of building the SLC temple took 50 years! It was a wonderful evening.

This weekend my cousin Brian got married to Christy, and the entire family came to celebrate. It was such a beautiful event, and it was so nice to see my side of the family. Considering we usually have to settle for only getting together at Christmas, this was a real treat.

At the luncheon. Grandma, Amy, Jon and I.

All the siblings!

Jon and I couldn't make it to the reception, but definitely enjoyed the time we did have with our family.

Today we were happily surprised to get a halloween package from mom Van Wickle! Seriously, we get like little kids when we receive these packages, they are the best! Here is Jon opening it up:

We sure do love our families, thanks for all the love and visits! It is wonderful motivation to keep us busy in school.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Handwriting Font

As you may have already figured out from previous posts, I am obsessed with fonts. Well, imagine my happiness in discovering that you can make your own handwriting into your very own font! And it is easy to do, quick, and best of all, FREE.

Here is a sample of mine:

Get yours at:

Monday, October 12, 2009


And you thought google was cool...
check out this website:
A video letting you know how the site works is here:

I like it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

General Conference

General conference was this past weekend- a time when the members of the church listen to the Prophet and Apostles speak. It is a time for spiritual renewal, and is always inspirational.

I thought I would share one of my favorite sermons from conference. It is by Jeffery Holland, an apostle of the Lord. This talk was meant for members of the church, regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. In a religion where reverence is carefully observed, Elder Holland's words are powerful and moving. For anyone who has ever had the slightest witness that the Book of Mormon is divine and inspired would benefit from hearing this man's words. If anything, I hope I always remember this talk, and the powerful witness I felt when I listened to it. I want to add my testimony to Elder Holland's, I know this book is the word of God and is a true testament of Jesus Christ.

To watch, put this link into your browser:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Birthday Fun

First of all, thank you to all of you who wished me a happy birthday yesterday. It is so nice to know such wonderful people, I feel like I have the best family and friends. From e-cards, facebook wishes, and ukulele videos, I appreciate it all. Even mom and dad calling me early in the morning to sing a vivacious "happy birthday" while on their walk. I wonder if they got some funny stares for doing that in public.

Now, here are some pleasant things that made me happy it was my birthday:
1. there was a thunder and lightening storm in the morning of my birthday. I am pretty sure that I told Jon, while half asleep, that God gave me a thunder storm for my birthday.
2. Season premier of House on hulu. Finally, I was so excited!
3. I found out that Craigo's pizza, from Rexburg, ID, is coming to Provo!! Yummiest pizza, super cheap, and Jon and I both love it! (They are the ones that put ranch instead of marinara on their BBQ chicken pizza, and I totally do that now)

The morning was relaxing a nice, classes and work were enjoyable. I left work early and Jon and I were happy to see my TOMS shoes had come! I loooooove them! For every pair you buy, they give one to a child in need.

We then watched House, and loved it. Relaxed, and did a little bit of shopping.

Next, we went to go buy my kitchen aid mixer with the mula $ given to me from family members! I couldn't wait! Just see my pure happiness in the pictures below!

We went to the macaroni grill for dinner (yumm) and before we left Jon gave me my earrings! They are white topaz, but they are real studs so I can finally wear earrings that wont irritate my ears. I was so excited.

Overall, the day was very relaxing and lovely. Perfect since it was in the middle of the week. Thanks again everyone for your wishes, it really was a great day!

My Toms:

Two of my favorite things:

Opening it up:

On my counter, in all of its beauty:

Making blond brownies today:

The brownies just finished! Perfect timing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I wish...

that I had important things to say. Life has been pretty routine, but luckily, we consider that a happy happy thing.

Jon and I made a goal to go to the temple every week this month. I can successfully state that we dressed up and WENT to the temple 4 times, though we only participated in the ordinances twice. One of the times we had lost a lot of time trying to get our temple clothes, and the other (yesterday) it was closing early. Either way, it has been an inspiring goal, and we have learned a lot from our attempts, and our times that we have been able to participate.

Yesterday Jon and I were both successful in our newest goals. At 8am I picked up three of my friends and we went up Provo canyon for a run. We went from Bridal Veil falls down to the base of Provo canyon (where it splits, to Orem or Provo). We were told it was going to be 8 miles total, so we planned on having someone to pick us up at the bottom. It was SO beautiful! The leaves were changing colors, the sky was clear, there was a crisp fall feeling in the air- it made for a really inspirational run. By the time we got to the bottom it was clear that it had not been 8 miles! So we decided to turn around and run back up. Yikes, a little uphill, and against the wind made it tougher than we expected. However, we all finished successfully! Melissa and my goal was 6 miles, but we completed about 7.5. We were all happy with how we did.

Jon had another shift at the emergency room and got to deal with some cranky people. Jon is very good with difficult people, since his feathers don't get ruffled very easily. He also witnessed the wide variation of people you get in the ER- those with real problems, and those with minor problems that they consider more serious than the people dying in pain who got there after them, but still get to go in first. Ahh, to be a young volunteer with no authority, attempting to appease such people. I have all the confidence in Jon that he did well, and I am proud of him. Jon gets a whopping $4.50 to use for food for every shift he works, so he will sometimes pick us up beverages or treats. It is very cute, to have him pick things out for the two of us. (You can tell we don't buy things like that very often... haha)

Well, today we have done 5 loads of laundry. I am pretty sure that sums up my day- along with church, a delicious dinner of parmesan chicken and pasta, and baking cookies. I have limited myself to only baking once a week... so those cookies were awesome.

Now Jon is waving his arms around trying to explain to me how "senovial joints" work. So I am going to go pretend I understand. And eat a cookie. Good night all- enjoy this upcoming week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jon had his first day volunteering at the Emergency Room at the Intermountain hospital, (finally, but we are not complaining) and he loved it! He got to put together people's charts, put their security bracelets on, get wheelchairs and blankets for people, and take them into back rooms to meet the doctor. It is definitely busy on a Saturday evening, so he got to see a variety of people. From people in handcuffs to little kids, you get it all in the ER.

This morning I ran five miles with my good friend Melissa, and have officially signed myself up for a half marathon. Many people at work are joining in, and I am pretty excited. 6 weeks of training left, it will be on Halloween. People are invited to wear costumes, so I figure it will be the most entertaining half marathon around town. It is also an "easy' course since it is almost all downhill or flat- we go from Sundance down to the Riverwood shopping malls in Provo. I am also expecting it to be a beautiful run. Hooray!

So Jon and I are staying busy and productive. We have lots of good goals this semester, we can't wait to let you know how it all goes!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Special Thanks

Despite the current economic situation going on in our country, as well as health care, war and other policy problems- I would like to express a certain thank you to our government.

When you are declared an independent, in college, and poor enough you qualify for government pell grants. Jon and my education were paid in full this year by government pell grants, and we truly cannot be more grateful. They make getting through school and working at low pay possible for us. I have many married friends who are in the same situation as us. It seems like we should say more "thank yous", we really are blessed.

Also a special thank you to Santa Barbara Scholarship for giving Jon living expenses, as well as the government SMART grant for science majors.

Sometimes it just seems like when we do our checkbook we come out even every month. But luckily we have been able to putting away savings, and live beyond groceries and rent. Sometimes it is easy to forget why that is, and what makes life comfortable. So I would like to be sure that I express my gratitude for all types of scholarships and aid for students.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Computer Help

If any of my Santa Barbara readers ever have any computer problems, I am happy to say that my very own computer specialist is opening herself up to freelance work. My sister Amy is an IT specialist, and knows her way around all types of computer problems- small and big. She has been a necessary help for me and my lap top, and my family always takes advantage of her knowledge. Bottom line: she seriously knows her stuff!

So if you have a computer problem, feel free to contact her. She will be happy to give you estimates on cost, and will definitely charge less than other companies.

She was also kind enough to let me design her business cards, and send her about a bazillion drafts until we got the final one done. You can find her contact information on the image below!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Real Man

Does the dishes in purple gloves.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nouns and books and show and tell: Back to school

Fall term has started. The first day of Jon and my senior year. Here is a brief list of random thoughts we have had thus far...

1. 400 level teachers have convinced themselves that 400 classes are hard, and like to tell their students that their classes are hard. Isn't that what 200 and 300 level classes prepared us for?

2. Jon and I have 2 classes together. It is fun, and kind of sweet. I think we will be less competitive this time around.

3. It is weird for campus to be so full of people. We used to think we had campus all to ourselves. We are cattle again, elbowing our way through the halls.

4. We like our professors. Having some great professors really makes a difference.

5. I am questioning grad school. Now that I should be applying. It doesn't feel quite right anymore. Sigh. I wish future me would tell me what to do.

6. Jon and I have some good goals set up for this semester. They will remain a mystery until we accomplish something, then I will be willing to share.

7. When did we ever get homework done? Vacation made me forget how this works.

8. We like BYU. We like our majors.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

There is no place like home

Here are some more pictures from our vacation! We have a lot of favorites, but here are some of our highlights.

Tonight we went to dinner at Ruth's Chris steak house for an early birthday. They had delicious food!

I tried my luck at surfing. Jon's brother Jake helped me.. I caught two waves, but knelt instead of standing up. But we had fun!

The mystery spot in Santa Cruz was entertaining, we also went to the boardwalk while we were down there.

San Francisco was fantastic, we loved the city, fishermans warf, and ghiradelli square. Here we are with the golden gate bridge:

I feel as though Jon and I have two homes now... in Goleta California and our little apartment in Provo Utah. But it sure has been nice to be with our families, we like them!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good News

We are taking a little break after our nearly 4 mile trek to fishermans warf and ghiradelli square.

I thought I would take the time to share some little bits of good news.

First, Jon is getting A's in his 2 classes from this term! And I am getting an A in abnormal psychology! We are very happy.

Also, remember voting for t-shirt designs? Well they choose this one and asked me to make it navy blue (otherwise it looks too much like a UVU shirt, I agree). Who knows, maybe I was the only one who submitted anything, but either way, it is fun to have my design on some shirts! Thanks for voting guys!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seattle, Portland and San Fran

This vacation has been so wonderful!

Here are some quick highlights

Sunday: dinner with the Toborgs and getting to see my friend Rachelle from BYU-Idaho and meeting her awesome amily

Monday: Pikes place and the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction museum, having Kaitlin as an amazing tour guide, yummy lunch and cupcakes, the locks and awesome views of Seattle.

Tuesday: going to the Vista house with Bethany and Chandler, checking out chiropractic west with Brandon, and getting to spend time with my favorite cousin and her family

Wednesday: a not so fun 11 hour drive, but a super cute hotel and a yummy dinner at the cheesecake factory made everything ok again.

This is our small, but lovely hotel room, right by union square:

We are so excited for tomorrow! Pictures are on facebook if you would like to see what we've been up to.