Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bah! Humbug!

I think I am giving Scrooge a run for his money!

It's no fun to come down with a really bad cold 3 days before Christmas...

When I just started my shopping 2 days ago (don't ask)...
When "things" are far from ready...
When it's our first year back "home" for Christmas in 4 years...
When Emily wrecked her car (she's okay, she simply slid into a curb and did LOTS of damage to the car:) and we spent several hours resolving that issue. Taking care of that kind of stuff doesn't stress me...life happens. And she is okay, which is the really, really important part.

I've just started crossing things off the list...

Clean house (why is that always the first thing to go?)
Make cookies and candy
Relax, have fun, don't be stressed (I crossed that one out with a vengance).
(There will be more lines drawn through my neatly detailed list, I'm sure of it).

I want to drink a whole entire bottle of Nyquil (not really, I'm kidding) and crawl into bed and sleep for days. But I have to take the now vehicleless girl to work bright and early tomorrow AM because the rental car won't be ready until tomorrow afternoon.

Next year...Next year will be The Year! :) This year is one to simply survive.

Earlier today, a kind, elderly man cheerfully told me; "Hang in there, it's almost over." What a lovely, Christmas sentiment! :) I'm sure it will be appearing on all sorts of Holiday Decor next year!

Thanks for listening to me ramble and whine...

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's About Time!!!

For some new family photos!
We haven't had family pictures done since Emily was 10 or so. Pathetic, I know!
I was waiting to get skinny...but since that hasn't happened...well, here we are!

Yes, I have gray hair. (But Rick has more than me!)
Yes, I have a small head and big (we prefer the term humongous) b***s
Maybe I'll do some cropping and editing...:) or maybe not.
There are a couple more that turned out okay, but I think 2 will suffice...
At least we now have a family picture that includes Shane!

Monday, December 7, 2009

We Have A Winner!

Even though this was just a small giveaway, I now know why everyone uses random.org to choose their winners!

I thought it would be "fun" to have an old fashioned drawing...and random.shane is
cute.


What was not fun, was trying to get the drawing done while trying to:
Fix dinner
Put up the Christmas tree
Rearrange the house (what?)
Get Shane to bed
Be happy (I got a little grouchy in the midst of all the chaos...just sayin')


But now...I am ready to announce the winner! :)


Congratulations, ikkinlala...you win this time around! (throws confetti, blows horn).

Email me your information, including what 3 scents of soap you would like, at
allthepiecesofme(at)live(dot)com



Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Family's Favorite Meal

Yes, yes...it's another recipe.
We had this for dinner tonight, and I thought it interesting that I had never shared our favorite dish...and I do mean favorite.

So, I present... Chicken Broccoli Casserole (also known as Chicken Divan). We call it CBC for short. Whatever you call it...it's delish. Everyone in the family loves this, but it is hands down Emily's favorite food in the whole entire world.

My kids are funny, because when I make this they can become quite "terrotorial" over it.
They will argue about who is eating too much...who gets the leftovers...etc.

They will hide leftovers from each other, finding creative ways to disguise it in the fridge. One time, Emily took the leftovers to a friend's house so no one else would get them. To avert bloodshed, I've started making extras so there are plenty of leftovers for everyone!

It will be enjoyed for breakfast and lunch tomorrow by everyone who is quick enough to get their hands on the remaining stash.

Emily was gone today, but when I got home from church she had left a bowl on the counter for me to fill with leftovers for her to take to work tomorrow.

So, yeah. Pretty much my family's favorite meal. Ever.


Chicken Broccoli Casserole

4 chicken breast halves
1 (16 oz) package frozen broccoli (we prefer chopped broccoli)
1 cup shredded cheese
6 cups cooked rice

Sauce: (Mix together)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. curry powder

Place chicken in pan and cover with water. Season as desired (salt, bay leaf etc.) Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Cool and shred or cut into small pieces.
Cook broccoli according to package directions, until crisp/tender.
Spray a large cooking dish (10x15) with cooking spray.
Spread cooked rice in the bottom of the pan.
Top with chicken pieces, and then broccoli.
Pour sauce over the top. Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly & cheese is melted.

*I usually use 1 1/2 bags of broccoli. And I just throw enough chicken on to make a nice layer. And I was a little heavy on the cheese tonight...you can adjust the recipe to your liking.
(This makes a big pan full...and yet I still have to make another small pan!!!)

*Also, just a few more hours to enter my giveaway. Midnight tonight is the cutoff. (Closed)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just A Little...Giveaway

My sister in law has been making this fabulous Goat Milk Soap. As soon as I tried some, I knew I had found something fantastic for a little blog giveaway.

I have never been a fan of homemade soap, but this soap really is awesome. It has a nice lather, and goat milk is a great moisturizer. I have even used this on my face with great results!

What's up for grabs? 3 bars of soap (scents to be chosen by winner) and one handcrafted, wooden soap dish.

How to enter? Well, I'm making it super easy. Just leave a comment and your name will be entered in the drawing. Follow my blog and your name will be added a second time. I will be using random.shane to choose a winner. :)

You have until Sunday, December 6th to enter. Winner will be announced on Monday, December 7th.

Available Scents:
Honey Oat (My favorite~ great for dry skin)
Lavender
Cinnamon
Ginger Citrus
Peppermint
Chocolate Mint
Eucalyptus
Eczema Bar (Available soon)

You can also check out the website, which is still under construction...but she has some great pictures! Udderly Fresh Soap

So remember, for 2 chances to win...
*Leave a comment
*Become a follower (does that sound right? Become a follower? Really???)
*Contest ends Sunday, Dec. 6th at 12:00 p.m.

*I am not receiving any form of compensation in exchange for this giveaway, it is simply for fun.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mango/Pomegranate Salad

I was so excited when I saw pomegranates in the store again! This is such an awesome salad, and it is so pretty and festive for the holidays.
This was served at our Relief Society Christmas Dinner last year.


Mango/Pomegranate Salad

Spring mix or Romaine lettuce or a mixture of both


Equal parts raspberry vinaigrette and balsamic vinaigrette, mixed together (1/2 a bottle of each for a small crowd)


Mango, cut and chopped (Go HERE for a great tutorial.)


Pomegranate Seeds (Tutorial HERE )


Sweet onion, very thinly sliced


Whole almonds, roughly chopped


Mix all of the ingredients together. Toss with dressing to coat salad.


*My notes:


There weren't any actual measurements, so I used a large bag of salad, 1 pomegranate, 1 mango, 1 onion, and about a cup of almonds, and not quite a bottle of the dressing (the 1/2 and 1/2 mix). So, you can adjust the measurements the way you like. Add more mango, more pomegranate, whatever you want!


You can buy pomegranate seeds and already cut mango pieces at Costco. Just in case anyone wants that option! :)


Also, this salad doesn't keep well, it gets soggy after you add the dressing. Next time I make it, I'm not going to toss it with the dressing, I'll let everyone add their own dressing to their salad.

(Sorry about the spacing...still having issues with that!)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving




"It’s so easy in life for us to receive blessings, many of them almost uncounted, and have things happen in our lives that can help change our lives, improve our lives, and bring the Spirit into our lives. But we sometimes take them for granted. How grateful we should be for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our hearts and souls. I would remind all of you that if we’re ever going to show gratitude properly to our Heavenly Father, we should do it with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—because it was He who gave us life and breath" (David B. Haight, "Were There Not Ten Cleansed?," Ensign, Nov 2002, 24).




Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Full Circle

Recently, Curtis and I had the opportunity to go back to the hospital where he was taken after his car accident 3 years ago.

It was our first time back. I was excited...and nervous. I wasn't sure how it would be for me, and I didn't want to be crying the whole time!
It was emotional, but in a good way. It was so wonderful for me to see some of the wonderful people that took care of us those first 2 months. I think it was good for them too~ so often, they never get to see former patients, and the outcome of all their hardwork.

I was so nervous & didn't want to impose on everyone, so I only got one picture this time! Next time I'll make sure I get more.
This is Curtis and me with one of our favorite MICU nurses, Barb. Let me tell you, this woman is awesome and I love her to death! She was so good to us. She and I have kept in touch and I send her photos and updates about Curtis on a regular basis.
Curtis does not remember anything from his hospital stay. It was a little weird for him to have all these people that knew him, but he didn't know any of them! But boy, they were all so happy to see him.
This is kind of a silly picture. When we visited the MICU, Barb was with a patient so we had to wait a bit to see her. But, several people recognized Curtis (even though they didn't all know him) because Barb posts the pictures and updates I send on the bulletin board for everyone to read. It was funny to have people say, "I know you, your Curtis & you had a pebble in your lung." While he was in MICU, he had a pebble that he had aspirated into his lungs and it had to be sucked out. This is picture of that pebble. I guess having an object in your lung is not all that common of an occurence. I try not to think too much about how it got there. (I know how it got there, just don't like to think about it!) I also learned, that he was one of the first patients that they had used the procedure of storing the pieces of his skull in an incision in his abdomen on. So, he's a bit of a celebrity, ha ha!
Here's a picture of some of the strange memorablia I kept from his hospital stay: (Ignore the bottle of lotion, it doesn't belong in the picture).
Weird, the things you hang on to! Some stuff just ended up coming home with us, but some of it was specifically for "memorablia". :) The Vena Cava filter was in his artery, to prevent blod clots. It's a weird looking little device, not at all what I pictured. And the notes I took are scribbled on the back of an envelope, because it was the only thing I could think to grab to take notes on. And even though I said to ignore the bottle of lotion...it did remind me of a funny story. When Curtis was in the rehab unit, for some reason he liked his feet rubbed. Anytime someone would walk in the room, he would stick his feet out. Everyone would rub his feet for him~family, nurses...everyone thought it was funny. We went through about 3 big bottles of lotion on his feet!


I also took Curtis on a tour of the hospital, and shared some memories and funny stories with him. It was just a wonderful day for me! There are still several people we would like to see, and that Curtis would like to meet so he can remember them. We'll go back again in a few months and I will for sure take pictures next time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Odds and Ends, November Edition

First; I have added a "Followers" gadget in the sidebar to the right, for those who prefer this option.

Second; I did make Spook Popcorn for Halloween. Here's the proof! It was soooo, good! And really easy. The most difficult part was taking out all the un-popped kernels of popcorn. I cheated a little and used microwave popcorn, butter flavor. It takes about 2 1/2 bags. I also used cashews. Oh my, was it ever decadent and yummy. I want to make some more right now.
It also stays pretty soft and gooey, so no need to spread it out to cool. It made my huge Tupperware bowl full, so it makes a nice batch.

Third; After reading Cherie's post "This Month-Be Grateful",
I made this cute Gratitude Jar for Family Home Evening.

It turned out so cute, I decided they would be perfect for Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching gifts, so I made up a few more! I had to buy bottles, can you believe that? All my canning jars have mysteriously disappeared!

Here's a picture of the back of the jars. I think it's so cute, all laced up! I did it a couple of different ways, I like the laced up look the best. I also made personalized labels for the jar lid, with each family's name.


You can find the printable graphics kit here at Daisie Company.
There are also more pictures, showing everything that is included in this cute craft kit.

Next;

I finally dug out my small, slightly pathetic, collection of Thanksgiving decorations. I read a post recently (which I can't find to link back to!), and she shared her favorite Thanksgiving decor, which was mostly Indians. So, when I opened my boxes, I was looking for a theme...what do I like?

Here's a few pictures...can you pick up a theme here?

This is one of my favorites:
(Sorry for the glare on this one. The front of the block says "Be Thankful")








Almost all of these were made in Relief Society! Most are pretty old! :)






I wanted to get some new things this year, but haven't been able to find much. You know, the whole "Halloween-to-Christmas" phenomenon! HELLO! You skipped Thanksgiving!
I did get invited to a neighborhood craft boutique. I took only the cash I was willing to spend, and was determined to buy only fall/Thanksgiving items. No tempting me with cute snowmen, pine cones & holly berries, or Santas! (I looked, but I didn't buy!)
I did find this cute, quilted table runner, which I love.



But this...this was the first thing that caught my eye! Isn't he the cutest little feller? Yep, I must really have a thing for turkeys! I haven't decided where he'll go yet. (He's appliqued on a dish towel). I have already instructed everyone that this is for decoration only and is not to be used! We'll see how far that gets me.




What's coming up:
Favorite Things
A Yummy Holiday recipe
A Giveaway (yes, that's right!)
And more...so stay tuned.








Sunday, November 15, 2009

Honestly...


Connie at I Started Out As A Child, was kind enough to pass this award along to me. Supposedly, it is for blogs that are "Encouraging, Inspiring, or Brilliant". I'm pretty sure it was the Jell-O post that caught her attention! :)
Kidding aside, Thanks, Connie, I think you are Awesome (as well as Encouraging, Inspiring & Brilliant!)
I'm supposed to share 10 Honest things about myself...
So, without further ado...here are 10 wonderful, captivating, essential things you never knew you never knew...about me!

*1. I am not a “morning person”…Not. A. Morning. Person. Don’t get me wrong, I love morning, I just wish it came a lot little later in the day. It is not unusual for me to go back to bed after I get the kids off to school. A bad habit I am kinda trying to break. I also really like naps! I guess I just like to sleep!!!

*2. I love glazed doughnuts! Love them! I was having a little obsession with cupcakes (love those too), but once I bit into that lovely, gooey, sugary doughnut…oh baby! My absolute favorites are from Maceys Grocery store. I haven't had these for 4 years...I was so happy when I finally bit into one! Pretty sure there will be glazed doughnuts (from Maceys) in Heaven.

*3. I can’t swim. I can do a pathetic doggy paddle or a frog kick…but that’s it! I also hate water on my face (even in the shower!)

*4. I don’t really like to wear shoes. Not sure why. I prefer barefoot, or sandals or flipflops. I really don't like "tie" shoes, I prefer ones I can slip on and off easily.

*5. I am a bit of a germ-o-phobe. My middle name should be “use sanitizer!” The whole swine flu thing has been a little stressful for me! Enough so that I am just ready to find a nice family that is sick & go give them all a great big hug! Or get the shot…whichever comes first. I can get a little uptight when my kids are sick! I'm fine when they are little and need to be held and loved on...but when they are older, yeah~ they better not be breathing and coughing on me!!! :) My family loves to make fun of me about this...but when they get sick, suddenly the handwashing and sanitizing doesn't seem so silly!

*6. Speaking of which, when I was in 3rd grade, I kissed my friend’s little brother so I could get the chicken pox. Pretty sure I didn’t have a germ phobia then!

*7. I love magazines. I could buy a magazine every time I go to the store! I don’t read the “tabloid” type (except for People, once in a while). I do like cooking, crafting or decorating magazines. I have read Good Housekeeping since I was a teenager! Reader’s Digest, Prevention…I pretty much read them all…I have put a moratorium on cooking magazines, for the time being…I have way too many of those!

*8. When I was in Middle School (7th Grade) I won a Halloween Writing Contest. Everyone who wanted to, wrote a story and submitted it to our English teacher, Mr. Houghton. He read the stories in class and we all voted for our favorite. My story was the favorite! I think I won $20.00. I have no clue what happened to the story. I wish I knew what I had done with it! It would probably be hilarious to read. I still can remember a little bit about it. I remember working on it a lot! I wrote it in one of those old, brown school notebooks (the ones that came in all different sizes…anyone remember those?). The title of my story was “The House on the Hill”.

*9. I am a bit of a pessimist. Yes, I am a “glass half empty” kinda gal. My sil says I’m a “realist”. That’s a much better sounding term!

*10. I’ve already confessed my inability to make Jell-O…but in addition to that (as if that weren’t bad enough) I can’t make gravy. Yes, that’s right. I Cannot Make Gravy. Thankfully, Rick can…so we are good!

Now, I am supposed to pass this award on to 7 other awesome bloggers...and so far, all of the blogs I've read have recently been awarded too (this award is getting around!). So, as others have done, I'll just encourage you to take a look at some of the blogs I love (over on the right side) and maybe you'll find someone new!

P.S. Can anyone clue me in as to how the spacing works on blogger? It's driving me nuts! I always have problems when I am trying to leave a space between paragraphs/sections...Then I have to go through endless edits trying to get it right! GRRRR!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Life, According to Shane

Shane went with me to the store a few days ago. This was our "hilarious" conversation:

Shane: "Mom, who will teach me how to drive when I get my learner's permit"
(His older brother just got his permit).
"Because you will probably be dead by then."

Me: Blank stare, awkward silence. (Yeah, how do you respond to that?)
Stammering..."I'm only 43, so that will make me what? 51?"

Shane: "Exactly!"

I didn't hear the rest of the conversation, because my hearing aide fell out...and when I bent to pick it up the front legs of my walker slipped off the curb and I fell and broke a hip! And he thinks I'm old? At least no one asked if I was his Grandmother!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When We Meet Again

Rewind! Mid-July, 2005…

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon...just a few days earlier, Rick had received an offer for a promotion at work, which involved a transfer to Arizona. We had accepted. Now, I found myself sitting in Relief Society next to Connie. It would be (unbeknownst to any of us) my last time attending church in that ward. Ever. I was serving in the RS at the time. The YW were conducting Opening Exercises, which was good for me because no way was I gonna be able to sit up in front of that room full of women and not bawl my eyes out! The word that we were moving had not gotten around quite yet…Opening Exercises went well, until the girls practiced a song they would be singing at upcoming Girl’s Camp. My daughter was a soloist. Despite the personal turmoil that she was going through, she sang beautifully. But, the words to the song pierced my heart and the tears flowed.

When We Meet Again
Jenny Phillips/Tyler Castleton


My feet are tired and worn
My spirit fades
Many fall by the way
Keep my feet this day


Walk one more mile or so
Stay close to me
My faith will be my fate
My destiny


I will rise and prove my faith
May my heart be one with Yours
So You will one day
Call me friend
When we meet again


Though trials may mark my path
And storms prevail
I know Your guiding love
Will never fail

If I endure it well
If I remain
True to the promises
And faithful to His name


Afterward, the Relief Society Presidency gathered for a few pictures.
Here we are!

Connie, Darla, Valerie, Emma

Fast Forward! October, 2009...


I once again find myself living in Utah…an unexpected, but welcome change of events! (Another transfer for Rick, back to the SLC office).


A lot has happened to all of us over the past 4 years. Some joys, some sorrows…Life is like that. I feel so blessed and fortunate to have good friends who have loved, supported, encouraged, laughed and cried with me. And I hope that in some measure, I have returned in kind to them…


There was an email, then a phone call, an invitation to join. Thanks to thoughtful, wonderful friends who gave me a little nudge!


Here we are!

Emma, Connie, Valerie, Darla, Lynette

We met for breakfast on Halloween. We dressed up in costume (in case it wasn't obvious...and please ignore my hair! Despite what my stylist says, side-swept bangs do not work for me!)

It was fun and wonderful and all good things rolled in to one! And it felt like I’d never been gone! And how wonderful it feels to be back home!


I will rise and prove my faith
May my heart be one with Yours
So You will one day
Call me friend
When we meet again


Love you guys!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Check Out These Awesome Giveaways!

I have two blog giveaways for you to check out!

Make It Work Mom is launching her website's new design (it's pretty cute, too) and has several items up for grabs. Her giveaway ends tomorrow night, so enter if you haven't yet!

And I Started Out As A Child is spotlighting some local (Utah) talent. Lots of cute, clever and creative things!

Giveaways aside, Connie and Camille are both awesome bloggers, so if you don't check their blogs regularly...you should!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What a Difference 50 Years Makes!

Rick's parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in October.


We had a wonderful family celebration to honor them.
Almost all of the family were able to attend. We have family in California, Montana & Utah, so it was great that we could all get together.

Then: October 14, 1959

And today:
They are the parents of 7 children, 5 boys and 2 girls.
They have 5 daughters-in-law and 1 son-in-law.
They have 26 living grandchildren, 1 deceased grandson, 1 grandson-in-law and
1 great grandchild.

All Because Two People Fell in Love!

Happy 50th Anniversary!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spook Popcorn~ A Halloween Treat

Graphics available at pccrafter




Spook Popcorn

5 quarts (20 cups) popcorn (already popped)
2 cups salted nuts (nixed nuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews...whatever you like)
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, combine popcorn, nuts and marshmallows. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over popped corn, nuts & marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are melted and popcorn is well coated. Can be rolled into popcorn balls if desired.
This is a recipe I got from my mom. She used to make this and share it with the neighbors. It makes a big batch! Make sure you use a big bowl and a sturdy spoon.

My Notes:
*This stays nice and soft & gooey.
*I used cashew pieces and it was so yummy! My mom usually uses peanuts & they are good too.

 

 


Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jell-no!

I can not make Jell-O. It is a culinary skill that somehow escapes me. I'm a pretty good cook, a reasonably decent baker, but when it comes to Jell-O, all bets are off!
Blame it on my mom...she doesn't like Jell-O, so my childhood was pretty much Jell-O less.

Oh, I can throw together some Jell-O masterpieces. Cottage cheese/Orange Jell-O salad is my specialty! Sometimes, just to shake things up, I use different flavors of Jell-O and fruit. Really, I am that daring!


I can make Cookie Salad (okay, not really Jell-O, it calls for pudding) and Frog-Eye Salad. Who doesn't love that? (Although I think it involves pudding too, hey if the box says Jell-O it's good enough for me!)


I can even make plain Jell-O...sometimes I even like to throw some Cool-Whip on top!
But if a recipe involves a set Jell-O with anything added to it...Well, it's just a disaster waiting to happen for me.

This knowledge, however, does not stop me from ocassionally thinking I can actually make Jell-O. Two weeks ago, such an event occured. Rick's parents were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary, and somehow I thought I could make the Jell-O for the family dinner. To be fair, I originally was going to make the previous mentioned Cottage Cheese salad...but lots of people don't like that...so I started trying to come up with something else...

My first idea? A lovely Orange Creamsicle Jell-O that was served at Rick's grandma's funeral. Everyone loved it & so I got the recipe. Please note, I have made this before, and it did not set up. Really, you would think a previous failure with this recipe would serve as a warning...but no...I decided I would make it!

Here's the recipe:
1 large box vanilla instant pudding
2 small boxes orange Jell-O

Make pudding according to package directions. Allow to set.
Make Jell-O using quick set method. Add prepared pudding, stir together and set.

Please, please, please, if you make this and it works~I don't want to know about it! Because it was a dismal failure for me! I will never make this again...EVER! On a positive note, Rick's mom froze it and took it to another family gathering on Sunday. I made everyone swear not to tell that it was mine! It looked gross! As it thawed, it became a semi-frozen, soupy mess...which many people loved! Go figure. Rick's cousin thought it was Awesome! Well, at least it tasted good. Maybe it would work for frozen pudding pops?

The second recipe I decided to make (why in the world would I try out a new recipe? Why, why, why?) Was also an Orange Creamsicle recipe...thankfully it turned out a little better.

Orange Creamsicle Jell-O
2 (3 oz) packages instant vanilla pudding
1 (3 oz) package orange Jell-O
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 (22 oz) can mandarin oranges (with juice)
1 (16 oz) container Cool Whip

Combine pudding, Jell-O. Pour boiling water over top and stir to dissolve completely.
Add the mandarin oranges (with juice). Fold in Cool Whip. Chill

This one turned out okay. I would make it again...Some reviews of the recipe said to leave out the juice from the oranges, as it can get kind of runny after it sits out for a while. So, I left the juice out...so it was pretty thick and sticky. The consistency and texture was a little like a thick, sticky paste. Next time, I'll use the juice... It did set up and it tasted good (as long as the texture didn't make you gag!) So I can happily add it to my Jell-O aresenal!

I have instructed my sister -in- law to hit me up the side of the head with a brick lovingly remind me I can't make Jell-O the next time I get the hare-brained idea that I can! She readily agreed. :)



At least we all got a good laugh from my Jell-O debacle & everyone now knows I can't make Jell-O!!!



On a more postive note. Today I am making this Apple Pudding, from Connie, who probably can make Jell-O.
Happily for me, no Jell-O (or pudding) was involved. It was super good & my family must have liked it, because they all came back for seconds. (Shhh, don't tell them I used walnuts! Even my most picky walnut haters didn't notice!). Yummy stuff!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fascination

Shane was only 4 when we moved to Arizona. As a result, he really doesn't remember much about Utah.
These are just a few of the things that are fascinating to him right now...

This is a "park" in the middle of our neighborhood. In AZ, we would call this a greenbelt. When we say that here, we get confused, blank stares! Most the kids call it "the field". Fascinating also, is the fact that he can just run outside and there are tons of neighbor kids to play with...and more fascinating still? That he can play outside! (AZ = either too hot...or not safe!)




Heater. Vents. Hours of fascinated play for an 8 year old boy! Yes, yes, we had these in AZ too, but they were in the ceiling, not the floor. I've already had to fish several toys out of the vent in his room. Awesome hiding place for action figures.


Grass. Green. Soft. No further explanation needed.



Our (ugly) mailbox. We had a community mail box in AZ. (The ones with all the little individual boxes). He loves to get the mail. Thankfully, this fascination has died down somewhat as he usually just brought the mail up to the front porch and left it there!




Mountains, mountains and more mountains! And if you look closely, you will see there is snow on the top of this beauty! He can't wait until it snows in the valley! He does think it's cold here though! (He ain't seen nothin' yet!) :) Awww, he's such an Arizona boy!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Speaking of Chickens

When Emily was in Kindergarten, she learned a cute little song about a Silly Chicken.

I Had a Little Chicken
(Tune: Turkey in the Straw)

"Oh, I had a little chicken
And she wouldn't lay an egg.
So I poured hot water
Up and down her leg.
And she giggled and she giggled,
And she giggled all the day.
Then, the silly little chicken
Laid a hard-boiled egg!"


She sang this song at the ward talent show. I can still see her, standing up on the stage in front of the microphone...shimmying up and down and flapping her elbows like a chicken! The 2nd verse was just a series of "bock, bock, bock, bock-bock...bock, bock, bock, bock"...she was such a cutie! She has always loved to sing and perform, and has never suffered from stage fright.
She is, however, afraid of chickens, as evidenced in this video:


(Both girls are, in fact, named Emily. Scaredy-cat/ "chicken" Emily is the one wearing her hair down...)
(And does she really say, "Those are hens, not chickens!")?
On the other hand...Shane is kind of shy and does not like to perform in front of others. He doesn't even like to be in the yearly Primary program. You would never catch him performing in a ward talent show!
But, he is not afraid of chickens!
He and a few of the other boys in the neighborhood, have been going to the Smith's house to help "pick" (gather) fresh chicken eggs. (These are very patient and kind neighbors!)


Last week, he brough home a dozen fresh eggs. He is fascinated with the variety of size, shape and color.

He also enjoys the whole process of "picking" the eggs. And is quite disgusted that, in his words;

"Chickens eat their own babies!" He dropped an egg that he had gathered and the chickens flocked right to it and gobbled it down. He thinks that is pretty gross!

He asked me to scramble some of his eggs for him. He told me exactly how to wash them off before cracking them. The first batch of eggs, he took 2 bites and said they "tasted weird". Later he admitted he was just thinking about where they came from & was worried that there might be baby chicks in the eggs and he didn't want to eat a baby chick! This was partly from a family conversation the night before, wherein Rick and I recounted instances of cracking fresh eggs...and finding forming chicks inside...and from his sibling's constant, "Ewww...that's gross, I'd never eat a fresh egg" comments.

He is now over the squeamishness and has eaten (and enjoyed) fresh scrambled eggs. I'm still working on my squeamishness!

When I was a kid, my grandma had chickens. I have fond memories of staying at her house and helping with the chickens. I got to help shoo the chickens in to the coop at night, and also helped gather eggs from the nests. I wasn't as brave as grandma, she would have to shoo the hens away for me to be able to snatch up the eggs. Those hens peck! (yeah, I might have a chicken phobia myself!)

Below is a picture of grandma's chicken coops. If I remember correctly, the large one was the "Hen House" and the small one was for the Roosters. They have not been used in a good, long time. (The coops, not the roosters...well, those too!)

I remember too, a few times of witnessing a Rooster meet his demise on the chopping block! It's a funny (and slightly disturbing) sight to see a Rooster running around the pasture with no head!

And, we (the grandkids) liked to chase each other with the chicken feet. After they were chopped off, you could pull the tendon and make the foot curl up. This really grosses me out now!

Chicken Coops in Grandma's Pasture

My grandma used to make the best chicken and noodles!

I tried this recipe for Lion House Chicken Noodle Soup a couple of weeks ago. I didn't use the dehydrated ingredients. And I added 2-11 oz pkgs of "Grandma's" brand frozen homemade style egg noodles. Oh, it was beyond delicious and totally reminded me of grandma's chicken and noodles. There was very little "soup" to it! But it was oh, so good!

And that is all I have to say about that.

For today.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh, My!

Pumpkin Cupcake
An "Ode to Fall"
Pictorial Essay











The. End.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Cutest Stuff Ever!

Look what was waiting for me when I got home yesterday:


Tanielle at The Polka Dot Daisy has the cutest handwriting, don't ya think?


S L O W L Y opening the package...

The suspension builds;

Cue "Jaws" music... da dum, da dum...


Isn't this just oozing with sweetness and cuteness? Festive orange tissue paper and a handwritten note! I wish my handwriting looked like this.




The Goods! The Loot! The Stuff!
So cute! Even cuter in person. How creative, how clever! I love it all! Thanks Tanielle!


And, good thing no one was home when I opened the package! My family already thinks I'm nuts so I didn't need to add any more evidence to that theory! I'm just sayin'... :)
HAPPY FALL!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cute Tote Giveaway

If you haven't already, head on over to Modern Molly Mormon and enter the Zinney Lou Totes Giveaway. It ends tomorrow, so hurry up now!

I sooo need a new scripture tote!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Peanut Butter Bars

One year, for my birthday, my grandma gave me this:



A recipe box filled with her favorite handwritten recipes.
It is still a gift I treasure. Many of her favorite recipes have become my favorites too!

One of my most requested recipes is one I got from Grandma, peanut butter bars! These are so good, and simple to make!




Peanut Butter Bars
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter (I like chunky)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup peanut butter, whipped (I like creamy)
16 oz tub chocolate frosting
Mix first eight ingredients. Then add all the flour and oats. Mix well.
Spread onto a 10x15 cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and spread whipped peanut butter on hot cake.
Cool and then spread with chocolate frosting.
Cut into bars and serve.