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When we first moved in our house we were super ambitious and planted a garden.  The last few years, not so much. Now we just mooch off our neighbors.  And we still have more zucchini than we know what to do with.  Which is why this recipe comes in handy.  It’s ridiculously good and helps use up all those garden grown zucchini’s our neighbors have so generously been sharing with us.


On to the recipe.

zucchini soup. GREAT way to use up garden fresh zucchini

3 cups of cooked and pureed zucchini.  

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 TBSP butter

1/2-3/4 cup cheese (grated Cheddar or torn up American slices are best)

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 tsp. salt (or salt to taste)


Slice zucchini into 1/2″ rounds, put in pot, boil and cook until tender.  Drain water from cooked zucchini and put the cooked zucchini in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour zucchini into pot (i just wipe out the pot I boiled it in real quick).  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together.  Heat on stove until warmed through. zucchini soup. GREAT way to use up your garden fresh zucchini

**Some tips**  I also blend the cream of mushroom soup so there aren’t little chunks of mushroom.  My husband has a disdain for chunks in his creamy soup.  I get it.  So I blend the soup first and then pour it in.

I always use freshly grated cheddar cheese because freshly grated cheese melts better than already grated cheese you buy at the store.  True story.  And I’m not a huge fan of American cheese although it tastes perfectly fine in this soup.

You can cook and puree the zucchini, let it cool, pop it in a freezer bag and save it to make soup another time.  You can also make the batch of soup and freeze that as well.  Both freeze great.

You can use some of the leftover water from the cooked zucchini pot to thin the soup out a bit depending on how creamy you want it.

3 cups of pureed zucchini is usually one big zucchini from the garden.  And I almost always double or triple this recipe so I can freeze some for later or take some to a neighbor (link is to TONS of awesome ways to help those around you for whatever reason).

This soup is SO good in a bread bowl.  So so good.

Try it.  I think you’ll like it.

I am offering a very limited number of family photo sessions this fall.  If you are interested, the pricing and details can be found here:  FAMILY PHOTO SESSIONS.

If a traditional family photo session makes you want to cry, check out my alternative sessions (that are fun and stress free) here:  FUNBOOTH SESSIONS

I won’t be doing ANY photo sessions in November and December.  The sooner you book, the better.  I only have a few spots left and it’s a lot more pleasant to get these done before it gets cold!

E-mail me with any questions or to book your spot.  ltross17@yahoo.com

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{It’s that time of year again!!  I’ve been offering these headshots for a several years now and keep getting more and more requests.  So we’re doing it again!}

As awesome as school pictures are (and by awesome I mean great blackmail for the future), once my own kids started school I decided to do my own head shots and offer it to others as well.

If you’d like an alternative/replacement for the traditional school pictures that no one ever displays, this is for you.  They’re also nice to have for those times you need a picture of your kid (for a school project, grandparent, special occasion, etc) and realize you don’t have any where they aren’t flashing a peace sign or making a “special” face (maybe that’s just my kids).

The cost is $10 per kid OR $40 per family (so if you have 3 kids, it’s $30, if you have 4 or more kids it’s $40).  This will include a vertical and horizontal headshot of each kid with a white background.

If you want a GROUP photo of all of your kids together, you can add that on for $25.  

Pictures will be edited in color AND black and white and you will receive a high-resolution digital copy (via Dropbox) so you can print whatever you want.  Cheaper (and cooler) than school pictures.  And non-school age children are welcome as well.

Headshot alternative to school photos

Our school allows us to just buy the class photo, so my kids still get their school picture taken and we just purchase the class photo (in elementary).  Then we use these alternative photos as our yearly photos.

I will be taking “school picture” head shots in LEHI (I will e-mail you the address) on Tuesday, August 30th and Thursday, September 1st.  Just added Monday, September 12th.

Click THIS LINK for Tuesday, August 30th in Lehi to sign up for a time slot. (1 spot left!)

Click THIS LINK for Thursday, September 1st in Lehi to sign up for a time slot. (3 spots left!)


Spots filled super fast so I’m opening another date for Monday, September 12th in Lehi.

Click THIS LINK to sign up for Monday, September 12th.

Sign-up times are first-come-first-served so if a specific time works better for you, signing up ASAP is advised (I’ve run out of time-slots each year).  Once you sign-up, please be sure to make your appointed time.  If you need to change your time for any reason, please do it as soon as possible so someone else can take your time-slot.

You only need ONE SLOT PER FAMILY!  (Each kid only takes 1-2 minutes plus a group shot if wanted so just 10 minutes per family)

If these dates/times don’t work for you, I will probably be doing a make-up date for those who can’t make it.  E-mail me to let me know you are interested and we’ll try to work something out.

If all time slots fill up quickly, I will most likely open another date (in Lehi).


I will also be doing head shots in SANDY (I will e-mail you the address after you sign up) on Tuesday, September 8th.  

Click THIS LINK for Thursday, September 8th in SANDY to sign-up for a time slot. (2 spots left!)


To see more samples of what the headshots will look like, click on the arrows to scroll through the photos!


The head shots only take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the moods of the kids (because you know, kids).

Please mention in the comments when you sign-up how many kids you’ll be bringing and if you want a group shot or not.

Feel free to contact me with any questions at ltross17@yahoo.com

Last June I volunteered at the Spartan Race.  I had heard people mention it, but didn’t really know what it was.  A friend of mine wanted a group of us to sign up for the next years race (2016), so we volunteered at the 2015 race to get a free entry (if you volunteer at any Spartan race, they’ll give you a free entry to a future race, about a $150 value).  Great way to save some money but also SO good to be able to go and check it out and get a feel for what it was before I completely committed to doing the race the following year (there’s only one Spartan race a year in Utah).

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We ended up being on a water station (which was surprisingly exhausting–it was hot and super hard to keep the water cups filled with the amount of athletes coming through who were also super hot and super thirsty).  We also helped with one of the obstacles which was pulling a cement block on a chain down a length of the mountain and back up.  It was dusty.  And hot.

But the entire time we were there, it got me more and more excited to do the race.  I still can’t quite explain the race spirit (at any type of race–running, triathlons, spartans).  There’s just a unique spirit and it makes me want to do whatever the racers are doing.  Every time I watch Ironman on TV I just keep thinking “I want to do that SO bad”.  And then I remember I’m afraid to swim.  Minor detail.

We spent about 4 hours at the race, walked around a little after to check out some of the other obstacles and then set our minds on training for the race the next year.

Unfortunately, I procrastinated a bit.  And this type of race is tricky to train for because there isn’t a set guideline of what to do and how to do it.  There are 3 different Spartan races.  A Beast (13ish miles and over 30 obstacles), a Super (8-10 miles and 25ish obstacles), and a Sprint (3-5 miles and 20-25 obstacles).  If you can’t do one of the obstacles, you have to do 30 burpees.  Man I hate burpees.

We’ll be doing a Super and I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around what to do to train for that.  I enjoy running so that part hasn’t been excruciating to train for.  But my strength is certainly lacking, particularly upper arm and grip strength.

I found a program called BBG that looked hopeful so I got the PDF versions of the workout (there’s also an APP–Sweat with Kayla) and I’ve been doing those over the summer.  When you look at the workouts, they don’t seem so bad, but once you start doing them, I can assure you they are hard.  I’m dripping sweat by the end and sometimes begging for mercy.

I can definitely tell my strength has improved using the BBG program and my abs are way stronger than they’ve ever been.  I’ve also been walking/slow jogging on the treadmill to work on hills as well as bar hangs (hanging from a pull up bar) to improve my grip strength.  I had my husband install some monkey bars in the basement and I meant to work on that, but it hasn’t really happened yet.  That’s my focus this next week before the race–improve monkey bar skills.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute.  It just hurts my hands.  Kids make it look so easy.

I’ve asked a few people who have done Spartans how to best train and nearly all of them said Crossfit.  That’s just not something I’m wanting to do right now so I’ve tried to find other methods.  I’ve found a few different workouts and pinned them on my Spartan Pinterest board.  And I did go to the Crossfit gym close to me to see if I could learn a good technique to climb a rope (the owner was super gracious and let me come in real quick and try it).  I honestly thought there was NO way I was going to be able to do that, but there’s a great technique where you wrap the rope on your feet and use mostly your legs.  Once my friend showed me how I was able to climb the rope on my first try.  I did get a little rope burn on my leg even through my long socks but I was relieved I was able to climb it.  We’ll see how that translates on race day and how muddy the rope is before I get there.

If I’m being totally honest, I’m nervous.  I have no idea if I’m well prepared or if I’m going to get completely wrecked. But I’m super excited at the same time.  Race day is next Saturday, August 13th.  Can’t wait to come back and do a recap.  Hoping I have nothing but good things to say!  Here’s to staying healthy in a fun way.

A few months ago a friend of mine called and after some discussion, she asked if I might be interested in blogging for a program one of her dear friends owns and runs for troubled teenage boys.  It’s called Triumph Youth Services.  She knows about the history of my brother  and thought this was something I would connect with.

After a little bit of research, a few chats with the wife of the founder, and an afternoon with some of the boys and their parents, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.  So for the past several months I’ve been helping update, write for, and maintain the Triumph Youth Services Blog.  It’s not necessarily a blog that would be interesting to everyone, but I wanted to bring attention to it in case anyone reading this may have a teenage boy who needs a little extra love and attention or some parents who need some help in guiding their teen in the right direction (we ALL need help and support from those around us and sometimes we have kids who need a more specific and individualized kind of guidance from people who know how to connect with them).

As I was learning more and more about Triumph I kept saying “oh how I wish we would have known about this place when my brother was a teenager.”  I really think Sterling and the staff there could have connected with him.  There’s obviously no guarantees it would have changed the trajectory of his life, but it couldn’t have hurt.  My parents tried just about everything else and still his life took some pretty brutal turns that had a direct impact on our entire family.

I’m not one who asks for help easily.  But the more I grow and the more I parent, the more I realize how necessary help is.  It doesn’t make us a bad parent.  It’s just the way God set things up.  Family’s.  Community.  Support.  For each other and for our kids.

Should you or someone you know have a teenager who could use some extra support and guidance, I would highly recommend checking out Triumph.  It’s not just for drug or alcohol addiction, though those are part of it.  They help boys in all different areas.  Low Self-esteem, depression, gaming addiction, PTSD, Reactive Attachment disorder, mood/anxiety disorders, bipolar, behavioral problems, academic struggles….

I’ve posted a few interviews from boys who have gone through the program on the Triumph blog.  It’s definitely tough and very demanding to graduate from the program but there’s NO doubt it changes the course of those boys lives.

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