23 September 2014

Preston England LDS Temple

This past Saturday, we took a daytrip down to the Preston England temple in Chorley, England with some new friends. 
We got up extra early that morning and were out the door by 5:35 am to catch a bus to Waverley Station. From there we took a three hour train ride down to Chorley. Then we caught a bus to the temple. The bus driver didn't make us pay to ride the bus when he found out we were going to the temple. It was so sweet of him.
We came to the temple with Neal and Dani Lutz and their adorable daughter Eleanor. They are Americans here for school just like us. Neal is doing an MBA at Napier. They were actually on our flight from Chicago too. Jen and I were pretty sure they were LDS too because of his BYU shirt. Happy coincidence that they also in our ward. 
We watched their daughter while they did a session in the temple and then they watched our girls so we could go. It felt so calm and peaceful to be at the temple after a while away from it. 

Once we both were done at the temple, we caught the bus back to the station, grabbed a bite to eat, and rode the train home. Oh how the girls loved riding the train! They have been asking since the moment we got to Scotland to ride the train. It was a dream come true for them.

It was a long day, and the girls were all very tired and needing sleep, so there were a few tears on the ride back, but mostly overtired and slightly hysterical giggling. It was so fun to watch all four girls interact and keep each other entertained. That little Eleanor is sure a doll!

We hope to be able to visit the temple again a few more times while we are here. Once we got back to the city, we caught a bus home. It was wonderful to see the city at night. The castle was all lit up and gorgeous and ready for photographing. 

Overall, it was totally worth getting up early and being exhausted to get to see and go inside the temple. We had a wonderful time and we're SO grateful to Dani and Neal for inviting us to go along with them. It's sometimes been hard for us to find the motivation to get out and explore with the girls while juggling nap times and strollers and backpacks and long walks, so it was nice to have some friends to go with!
A successful weekend for sure!

*Visited 20 September 2014

15 September 2014

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle is located in Southeast Edinburgh. Some people call it "the other castle" in Edinburgh, but even if this is the case, we loved visiting it. Built by the Preston family in the 1300's, it was used until the early 17th century and then was left to ruin. 
The castle is well known because Mary Queen of Scots visited it frequently, including after the birth of her son, future king James VI. And it was there that the "Craigmillar Bond" was made- the pact to killer husband Bramley. 
Dallin and I bought a Historic Scotland membership so that we could visit a lot of the tourist places (Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Craigmillar Castle, etc.) multiple times and for free and we think it will see a lot of use. 
One of the things we loved about Craigmillar is that it wasn't very crowded. We could explore the castle at our own pace and we're able to take a lot of time without being crowded out. It was fun getting lost among all the rooms and staircases. We will definitely go again! 

From this vantage point, you can see Arthur's seat and Edinburgh Castle in the distance. 

No visit to a castle would be complete without a family selfie!

Sabrina practicing her gymnastics. 

And Fiona too! 

Craigmillar Castle- visited 13 Sept, 2014

12 September 2014

Deep Conversations- Vol. 3

More deep thoughts, for your reading pleasure.

Sabrina; Deaun came from mommy's tummy.
Grandpa Wayne: Really?
Sabrina: Yeah.
Grandpa: Where did you come from?
Sabrina: The bathroom.

Fiona: I love daddy cuz he's so pretty.
sabrina: Yeah! He is so beautiful!
fiona: He is funny when he tickles me.
Becki: What else do you love about daddy?
Sabrina: He loves to go to the farm. There is a little house on the farm.
Fiona: And a slide. And I didn't even pee on the toys!

Fiona: Mom you need to chill down or Santa not going to bring you presents!

Sabrina: I'm gonna cook a baby in my tummy.
Fiona: Yeah and then it's going to pop outta there!

Me: I don't know how to turn on movies at Grandma's house so we will have to wait til she gets home.
Fiona: It's okay. I can help you! I have a strong body!

Sabrina (pointing at Deaun): Oh! Look at her little baby eyeballs! Baby Deaun is such a grabber baby!

Fiona: It's too big!
Dal: What is?
Fiona: You are!

**Some of the following conversations happened LONG LONG ago. But when you are only three, last year and eighteen months ago is practically half of a lifetime. Oh wait... Anyway, I found them on my phone and they were too good not to share.

Sabrina: It's so sunny today.
Fiona: Oh no! Sunny is not my favorite. It's not good.
Me: What do you like?
Fiona: I like the shade is better. The shadows in my room is nice.
Sabrina: I wish the clouds would hide the blue sky.

Sabrina and Fiona fighting at their bedroom door.
Dal goes over to see what is going on.
Dallin: You guys can't fight. What are you even fighting about?
Fiona: I need the door closed.
Dal: Why?
Fiona: Because Sabrina needs it open.

Sabrina: This salads be choking. I just want veggies.

Sabrina: Who tooted? It smell! It was me!

Sabrina: Bug! Bug!
Fiona: Don't worry, I stomp it! (Stomp!)
Sabrina: Bye bye bug!

Sabrina: We not have to sleep in the crib. It's in the closet.
Dad: Yeah, it's in the closet.
Sabrina: Yeah. Cuz it not have batteries, right?

**These are some from when Deaun was a newborn and the girls were learning about nursing.

Fiona: What her doing?! Why Deaun eat your dots?!

Sabrina (watching me nurse): What's sister doing?
Me: She's drinking milk.
Sabrina: What?! That's CRAZY...

Sabrina (watching me nurse): Is she drinking milk?
Me: Yes.
Sabrina: Oh I LOVE milk!

Fiona: What are those? (Pointing to my boobs) And why Deaun eat them? I do NOT like baby milk!

08 September 2014


One of our first views of Scotland

We're playing tourists right now in our new city. Edinburgh is amazing. It's so old and full of history and you can find beauty in just about everything here. We are adjusting to the time difference, a little homesick, but overall really loving this place. It's gorgeous. 

Waters of Leith Walkway

On the corner, almost home

Deaun loves the new park

A peek of Arthur's seat

Dal and Deaun- Holyrood Park

Fiona- Posing at Holyrood

Sabrina- Holyrood

A view of Edinburgh Castle at Sunset

Portobello Beach

At Portobello

At Portobello

Looking over the George IV Bridge

At the National Museum of Scotland

Pollock Hall

What would you like to see here as we dig in to the city? Have any questions? Recommendations of places to visit?

Made from Scratch: Brownies

Our flat here in Scotland came furnished. Much more furnished that we were planning on it being. It ended up being a huge blessing because so many things that we would want or need from day to day came with the flat and therefore didn't have to be purchased by us. (Beds, dressers, tables and chairs, curtains, new pillows and bedding, desks, pots/pans, and dishes, etc.)

However, two things that didn't come with the flat were baking dishes and food. Can you believe that? They wouldn't stock our flat with food?! The nerve.... Haha, just kidding.

Anyway, the point of all of this being that Dal and I started absolutely from zero when we moved here. No food, no spices, no herbs, etc. So we've slowly over the past few weeks been building back up or staples here. We usually don't realize we need something until we want to make something and we don't have the things we need make that particular item. Do you know what you can bake without baking soda? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Apparently it's in like every recipe in the world. Go figure.

So as we need something, we put it on the Tesco order (We order our groceries online. BEST thing ever. Period.) and it comes a few days later when we want it delivered. I'm not a big baker in general, I cook a lot, but don't bake much. But guess how much I've been wanting to bake something since I don't have the things to do it? TONS.

Well, we finally built up enough of a pantry stock and have one (singular) baking dish (a gorgeous terracotta square pan) that I felt like I could look up something to make with the girls. They've been begging for chocolate cupcakes. (Guess who doesn't have a muffin tin yet? I bet you can't...) So Friday morning, I looked up a recipe for brownies and had all of the stuff to make them (Shout Hallelujah!), and just for kicks I looked to see if you could make frosting for them even if you didn't have powdered sugar. You totally can. Mind blown. I was skeptical about this frosting, but I shouldn't have been. It was so soft and creamy and since it doesn't have white sugar in it, it's totally healthy right? Right.
They were DELICIOUS. I don't know if were just delicious because we hadn't had dessert in weeks or if they were really that good. Just kidding. I know. They were totally that good. Dal hid them from the girls so we could eat them by ourselves ;)

This recipe is for a nice dense brownie, and it works really well with the light creamy frosting. So here you go.


1/2 cup butter (margarine will work)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt (unless you are using salted butter)
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in microwave proof mixing bowl. Mix in all re
maining ingredients and spread batter in pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes and remove when when fork comes out clean.
Cool and then top with frosting (see recipe below).

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 stick room temperature butter
1/3 cup honey (I used whipped)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk on high until creamy and fluffy. Or if you just have a hand wisk, until your arms hurt. Haha. This will make enough frosting to frost your brownies and use the leftovers for some graham cracker/frosting sandwiches. Yum!

05 September 2014

Deep Conversations- Vol. Dos

Well, let's be real here. Three year old don't really have deep conversations very often. But they certainly do have interesting ones...

Sabrina: Mom, I love you.
Becki: I love you too.
Fiona: Mom, I love you.
Becki: And I love you. Why don't you tell your dad now, too?
Sabrina: Daddy, I LOVE mommy!

Fiona (standing in her underwear by the toilet)
Dallin: What are you doing Fiona?
Fiona: Dad! There was a bug in the toilet! But I had to go bathroom! So I flushed it. And I wasn't scared. But I WASN'T calm either...

Becki: Can I nibble your tummy a tiny bit?
Fiona: Humans don't eat tummies, they only walk and sit down.

Dallin goes into the bedroom to tell the girls its time to go to sleep and stop talking.
Sabrina: Dad?
Dallin: Yeah?
Sabrina: I can make big bubbles with my mouth and I want to sleep on the bottom of my bed.
Dallin: Go to sleep.

Fiona: I can't talk!
Sabrina: But I can hear you. Maybe you're an elf. Elfs don't talk...

Fiona: Pooping makes my bum strong!

Sabrina sneezes near Deaun.
Fiona: Don't "Bless You" on her!

Sabrina: If you're stuck in a hole, say, "Mom, Dad, I'm stuck in a hole!"

Me: Fiona, please don't hit me with the frisbee.
Fiona: GRRRRR! I just want to talk about this. I'm MAD!
Me: Okay, let's talk. But it's still not okay to hit.
Fiona: Mom! You're just being crazy! And I'm being silly!
(Yes, you are.)

At Capitol Reef, looking at the red cliffs.
Sabrina: We have to take care of the country because it's so beautiful, so no painting on it. Okay?

Sabrina: (Playing make believe, after watching frozen) Father? Father? Oh no! He's dead!
Fiona: No wait! He's alive! Yay! Oh no! He's gone again cuz he's dead again.
Sabrina: (Pretend sobs)

Dallin: Fiona, you need to eat your lunch.
Fiona: (Puts her hands behind her head) I just can't! I don't have hands!

Oh, and for good measure, I'll include my other child. She doesn't like to be upstaged.

Deaun: Baba baba (Bottle)

Deaun: Daw daw daw (Dog)

Deaun: Dada, Dada (Dad, Mom)

Deaun: Mama mama (This is nonsense. It's just the word she uses when she's jabbering away.)

For Vol. Uno, click HERE.

01 September 2014


So yesterday was our first Sunday in Edinburgh. It didn't go as well as I had hoped.
We have church at 10:30 in the morning which doesn't allow for Deaun to take a nap before (like she always has been able to in the past), but we figured she would probably sleep on the way to church in her stroller. Church is a walk, then a bus ride, and another walk away. Maybe 3/4 of a mile of walking one way. I picked out a normal outfit for church, which unfortunately for me included heels. Heels that I have always claimed to be "really comfortable!" Ha. Not so comfortable after walking 3/4 of a mile to church. The girls were so excited to wear their new tights to church, which we then ended up adjusting  approximately 75 times because they kept slipping down and pulling their underwear with it. We didn't bring a blanket to cover Deaun with, so she couldn't sleep, so I limped around the halls with Deaun for a lot of the meeting because she was too tired to hold still, but not comfortable enough to fall asleep. I couldn't understand what some of the church members said. And while church in Edinburgh was pretty much the same as church in Utah, it was just different enough for me to feel off kilter. After church, we missed the bus back home by about a minute, so we had to wait 30 more minutes for the bus to come again. We were all tired and hungry and my feet hurt too much to want to walk the 3/4 mile back home.
I was in tears and frustrated and angry by the time we got home, feeling that if this was how hard church was going to be every week, then I wasn't even sure I wanted to go anymore. I took a nap for a little while since I was too frustrated to really do anything else.
But when I woke up I felt much better, and the more I thought about it yesterday evening and today, the better I felt about all that had happened that day. Let me try to explain.

Church attendance is very important to Dallin and I, especially since we are now in a new country where we aren't surrounded by members of the LDS church like we have been in the past. Church is a chance for us to meet with people who believe what we believe, to take the sacrament. It's a break from the world, a recharge for the coming week. So of course, we would experience opposition in trying to do something important for the first time in a new place. Of course Satan would try to make the day as negative as possible for us! Negative experiences, negative attitudes, the whole lot. I'm sure his objective was to make it so difficult to get there and back that we wouldn't even try to go the next week.

But once I realized this, I realized how important it really is for us to GO every week. No matter where we are. No matter what country. It is important to get to church, to meet with friends, to take the sacrament, to start over for the week. So now that I know what Satan was trying to do, how he was trying to break our resolve, I am determined that next week will go better.
I will wear flat shoes.
We will leave earlier so we don't have to run for the first bus.
I will bring blankets and possibly a stuffed animal (for Deaun, not me) to snuggle with.
We will bring snacks and lunch to eat after church.
We will take the later bus back from church on purpose- there's just no way that first bus is going to happen.
We won't wear tights that pull down our underpants!
We will be prepared. And we're going to go. And it's going to be great.

P.S. The twins loved primary! LOVED it! There are two other Sunbeams in their class, and the two of them have doubled the Jr. Primary. They had tons of attention and made new friends without being overwhelmed by all the new kids. It was perfect for them.

P.P.S. To learn more about what we believe, please visit mormon.org or click the "I Believe" button to your left to see some of my personal beliefs.