Friday, July 31, 2009

Why It Is Hard to Say Good-bye

First, I have to start by saying that I did not want to move to Arizona. I have always thought of Arizona as the arm-pit of the universe. It’s really HOT here in the summer time. So, when the opportunity came…I was less than thrilled. There was a lot of weeping and wailing!

The first year was super hard. And then, just when I thought life was getting back on track, Curtis was in a terrible car accident…and the past 3 years, our life has revolved around TBI Rehab.

And now, just when life is starting to feel a bit “normal” again…
Just when I have finally learned to pronounce saguaro, mogollon, estrella and bougainvillea! (Sheesh!) We are moving…

Good-bye Arizona!
Good-bye stifling summer heat!

In all honesty, Arizona has grown on me. So, this is a just a list of a few things that I will miss:

*Incredible sunsets

*Gorgeous weather October-May

*Warm weather for Halloween/Trick-or-Treating without being all bundled up!

*Warm weather for Thanksgiving and Christmas (took a couple years to get used to this!)

*Beautiful desert flora! Esperanza, Texas Sage, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Hibiscus,to name a few

*Cultural Diversity

*Our house (we love our house! We have lived in this house just a little over a year, we bought it brand new last Spring…and then found out we were being transferred back to Utah.

*Orange Blossoms in the spring

*The Easter Pageant

*The moon! It often looks HUGE, hanging just above the horizon

*Driving to Phoenix numerous times a week…sometimes numerous times a day (wait, I won’t miss that!)

*QT! (Quick Trip…a gas station and convenience store with the BEST soda)

*Saying “soda” instead of “pop”

*Not having to wear nylons to church (seriously, no one here wears nylons…ever! Except me…old habits die hard!)

*Monsoon Thunderstorms (except for when the roof leaks…and the ceiling collapses on the kitchen table). Not Fun!

*Dust Storms aka Haboobs…interesting to see at least once! We saw a huge one a couple of years ago and it was amazing to see this huge wall of sand and dust sweeping across the valley.

*F-16’s thundering across the sky (we live in the West Valley, near Luke Air Force Base)

All My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go!

We are all packed! (Well, almost!) The past 3 days have been a flurry of activity, getting everything finished up. Hopefully the computer will be packed last! :)

Tomorrow is "the" day. Good thing, cause I am pooped! :)

Not looking forward to the long drive tomorrow. (Bleh)!

And, my 2 oldest boys went at each other in Wal-mart today! It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys! I may just drop them along the side of the road somewhere (just kidding...sorta). I've resigned from being their mother for the rest of the day. (yeah, whatever!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Still More Giveaways!

Okay, well I must be in the "enter all the giveaways you can" mood! See what winning a book did to me?

Check out these two awesome giveaways going on right now:

The Polka Dot Daisy has some Christmas in July items up for grabs.


Whimsy By Victoria is spotlighting Imperfectly Beautiful and has some cute home decor items she is giving away.

(I'm so glad Connie has so many friends I can stalk follow)!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Awesome Giveaway!

So many blog giveaways, so little time!

Head on over to "I Started Out as a Child" and check it out!

If you're lucky, you'll be getting a shoebox full of apricots in the mail real soon! :)
(In all seriousness, she has some awesome things up for grabs!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Love Rolls, A Family Tradition

See that yummy goodness? This is a "secret" family recipe that has been passed down in my husband's family for six generations. So, at the peril of my life...I'm going to blog about it!

First, a little history. Rick's grandmother taught me how to make these. She learned to make them from her grandmother. A written recipe never existed. My mother in law tried to write it down years ago, and put the recipe in a ward cookbook! Her children were very upset with her! After all, it is a secret! Hence the "peril of my life" statement!

Several years ago, I asked Grandma to teach me how to make them, and she agreed. I wrote the recipe down as she made them. The interesting thing is, another sister-in-law did the same thing...and we both have slightly different recipes. Mine has cinnamon, hers does not. Grandma told us both that our recipes were "authentic". I think Grandma just threw in whatever struck her fancy! :)

As far as we know, no one else makes these, and Rick's family is the only branch of the family tree that makes them, with the exception of a couple of cousins.

I do not know when or where the recipe actually originated. And since Grandma has passed away I don't know all those details.

From my notes, I have that Grandma Clay learned to make them from her Grandmother, Missouri Clay Browning. Missouri Clay was born in 1855 and died in 1936. She and her family joined the LDS Church in 1892 and shortly thereafter, she moved with her husband and 6 boys to Utah. Grandpa's first wife died from complications of childbirth, leaving 6 small boys. Missouri Clay raised them and bore 4 of her own children after migrating to Utah. That is just a very brief overview of her history. She is a fascinating woman and I can't wait to meet her!

Now, on to the recipe...

The dough is simply a baking powder biscuit dough with some sugar added.
Here I have stirred together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, sugar and a little salt.

Then add the shortening.

Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the milk

And stir with a fork until until a ball is formed

Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and roll into a rectangle, about 1/2 an inch thick.

Spread the dough with softened butter and sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and a little nutmeg on top.

Then roll the dough up

And cut into about 2 inch slices (just like you would do cinnamon rolls).

Meanwhile, throw the sauce together. Heat water, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a pan, and boil for 5 minutes. Originally this step was done in a 9x13 pan on the stove-top and after the biscuits were added the full pan was transferred to the oven. After a few mishaps, we adapted the method to be a little easier and a little safer!

(Did you know boiling sugary water causes 3rd degree burns if you drop a pan and it pours all over your feet? Take my word for it, it does!)

Now, put a 9x13 pan in the oven, and pour the syrup in the pan. The pan will be a little more than half full.

Plop the rolls into the sauce. I usually get 12 plus a few extra...

Bake for about 1/2 an hour (15 minutes at 400 degrees, then 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees).
The sauce will thicken as it cooks, and the rolls will be a nice golden brown on top.

Oh, yum!

You want to serve them warm, right out of the oven. A pan seldom lasts too long around here!

All that sauce in the bottom of the pan? Go ahead and spoon some over the rolls. Be generous!

You can add a splash of milk or even half and half if you like.

Oh my...these are so good!

And you can't really tell from this picture, but as an added bonus, some of the sauce spilled over in to the bottom of the oven (it always does) and it caught on fire!!! How thrilling! Good thing the rolls were already done and on the counter!

*This is the first time I have ever made these by myself. Rick and I have always made them together, I do the sauce and he does the dough. The boys said I "did good".

Love Rolls

4 cups flour
6 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. sugar
1 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups milk
Softened butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg
Stir together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once, stir until dough begins to form a ball. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Sread with softened butter and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (no measurements, but be generous with the sugar and cinnamon and go easy on the nutmeg or it can be overpowering).
Roll dough up and slice into 1-2 inch slices.

6 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 +1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirrring ocassionally. Boil for 5 minutes.
Place a 9x13 pan in the oven. Carefully pour sauce in to the pan. Gently drop rolls in to the sauce.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown and sauce is thickened.
Serve warm, topped with sauce. May top with milk or cream if desired.
Makes approximately 12 rolls

*If you make a bigger batch, do not double the sauce. It has to be made in individual batches or it doesn't set up properly.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Look What I Got!

This lovely book arrived in the mail yesterday.
Let me tell ya, if ever there was a day that I needed a surprise in the mail, it was yesterday! And it was not in a BOX, which right now is an added bonus!
I won this lovely book in a giveaway hosted by Susan at Bloggin 'Bout Books.
Can't wait to read it. For now, it's being added to my stack of "books I want to read soon"!
Thanks Susan!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"To the Left, To the Left"...

"Everything you own, in the box to the left..."

What I've Been Up To...
I Hate Moving...
Send Help Now!!!

Yep, this is my current project...

10 More Days! Ten more fun filled days packing up all our junk belongings!

Today I've been working on the office. Thought it would take a few hours...I was wrong!

A few other notes:
Those U-Haul Boxes that are supposed to be good for 4 moves...NOT!
Packing tape doesn't stick very well to previously used boxes...
It always takes more boxes than you think...
It always takes more time than you think...
There is not enough Dr. Pepper in the world to soothe this stress!
I asked Emily if she thought we were half way done...she laughed hysterically!
Not. Even. Half. Way. Done.

What I'd rather be doing:
Relaxing in a beautiful hotel overlooking the ocean
Chillin' at a picturesque cabin in the mountains
Getting a pedicure
Taking a Nap
Getting a Massage
Blogging (wait, what? I am doing that...shhh!)
Having bamboo shoots shoved under my fingernails...I'm just sayin'!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jell-O Pudding Pops

Well... I am ever so slowly working my way up to making cookies!
I decided to start with something pretty simple to do; Jell-O Pudding Pops. Frozen chocolate pudding, what could be easier than that? And Shane agreed to be my helper, even better!

Here's a link to the recipe, courtesy Kraft Foods:
Jell-O Pudding Pops

Pretty simple, you just make the pudding (we are using chocolate) according to the package directions.

Pour or spoon the pudding into small cups, or popsicle molds if you have those. I have a gazillion of these small, white plastic cups left over from some Relief Society event...perfect for pudding pops!

Stick a popsicle stick in the middle of each cup of pudding and put them in the freezer for a few hours.
Shane liked them. I didn't try one because they disappeared too quickly! Although I did find a few chocolate messes from accidental "spills"!
When they thaw out, they don't melt, you just end up with a cup of pudding, or a pudding spill, whichever!

I think this picture pretty much says it all!
Shane likes chocolate!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Coming Out of the Closet

Not that closet. Sorry if I caused alarm.

No, no, I mean this closet:

I love Harry Potter!

There, I said it!

I love Harry Potter! I am a Harry Potter fan!

I ♥ Harry Potter!

I was a late comer to the whole Harry Potter craze. I started reading the first book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, if you must ask), while on a camping trip with the family. I think I grabbed it with a stack of other books for us to read aloud. I don’t remember the unusual circumstances that lead to me reading the book (fantasy/sci-fi is not my genre of choice). But read it I did, and I was instantly captivated. This was around the time that the movie “Prisoner of Azkaban” came out, so I was a little behind! It didn’t take me long to catch up though!

I did get a little bogged down with "Goblet of Fire", but took off again with "Order of the Phoenix".

"Half Blood Prince" is probably my favorite book of the series…so I can hardly wait for the movie to come out! (Hence the countdown at the top of my blog). And yes, I cried (didn’t everyone?) Oh my gosh! Did I say I can hardly wait? I have enjoyed the movies every bit as much as the books. I can hardly wait! (Sorry, I just can’t control myself!)

After I read HBP, I was so excited for the release of the final book that I pre-ordered it from Amazon. Guaranteed release date delivery to my doorstep! It was spontaneous and totally out of character for me! The day the book arrived, I wouldn’t let anyone touch it! We were going on vacation the next weekend and I was saving it so I could have (mostly) uninterrupted reading time. I refused to even open the box, and sat it on top of the chest of drawers in my bedroom. Okay, okay…I’ll admit that after about 3 days of seeing that darn box there…I ever so carefully opened it and slid the book out. I, of course, had to make sure I didn’t have one of the copies with missing pages…that would never do! I flipped through the pages, being ever so careful not to read anything, caressed the cover and then very gently replaced it so no one would know I had opened the box! (As if anyone dared even come near it!)

I had to endure much harassment over my obsession as well as pleas from both Curtis and Spencer to let them read it already! Yes, I was mean and made them wait. I took it with us camping and read it in about 2 days (Why yes, I did cry. Thank you very much for asking)…Then, and only then, I passed it on for others in the family to read.

I am so excited for the HBP movie! I can hardly wait…and then after that…"Deathly Hallows" x's2…Oh my!

And just to clear the air…I really like the “Twilight” books too (even though I didn’t want to).

You won’t catch me wearing a “Team Edward” baseball cap or a “My heart belongs to my husband, my neck belongs to Edward” t-shirt, though!

I’m just sayin’ ;)

I'm glad to get all that off my chest...
I feel much better now!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mom's Potato Salad

We were in Utah last week, looking for a house. (Yes, we found one).

We spent the 4th of July celebrating with family. It was the kind of weekend full of all the reasons we are looking forward to moving back (family, fun, food to name a few) and all of the reasons we are not. But this is my "happy blog" so I'm not even gonna go there!

I hauled my camera everywhere, but didn't take any pictures. I was in a bit of a funk, so you'll have to forgive me.

The boys had a great time hanging out with aunts, uncles, cousins and grand-parents. There was fishing, and fireworks...(not together). And some funny antics of my sister-in-law!

Shane got covered in mosquito bites...he looks like he has the chicken pox! We rarely worry about mosquitoes here in AZ. I'll have to remember to stock up on bug spray.

My mom makes the best Potato Salad. Ever.
She made it for our barbecue. It was so yummy, I ate 2 big helpings! I've been trying to make it too, but my results are less than perfect. Once I bit into hers, I knew I was still off the mark. But I haven't given up yet, I'll still keep trying!

Mom's Potato Salad
5 1/2 Pounds Red Potatoes
1 Quart Miracle Whip (no substitutions, please)
1/4-1/2 Cup Yellow Mustard
1 Small Onion, diced
1 lb. Bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
Salt and Pepper to taste

Scrub potatoes, boil with skins on until just cooked. (Do not overcook the potatoes). Cool. Peel and dice potatoes. Mix together Miracle Whip, mustard, onions and salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes and stir gently until all potatoes are coated. Stir in bacon pieces. Chill until ready to serve. Best if made a day or two ahead.

*My notes: My last attempt was way too saucy and way too mustardy! So I've cut the mustard back to 1/4 a cup and then will add more if it needs it. Mom's doesn't taste "mustardy" at all! Of course, she doesn't use a recipe, she just throws it together, so the amounts are just her guesstimates. I'll keep tweaking it! You could also add pickles or hard boiled eggs, whatever you like in your potato salad. And a word about the Miracle Whip...I've tried it with Mayo and it just ain't the same (and I hate MW, but for this recipe...mayo just doesn't cut it!).

*EDIT 8/13/2011: I cut the mustard back to a little more than 1/8 of a cup. And on my mom's suggestion, I mixed the Miracle Whip, mustard, salt and pepper together, tasting it as I went along, until the flavor was right. Then I added it to the other ingredients. Perfect!!!

p.s. The picture is of my too saucy, too mustardy version. Just so ya know.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Se7ven Random Things About Me!

I got tagged by my pal, Connie.

So, without further ado, here are 7 things about me!

1. My first car was a 1966 Ford Mustang GT. Competition orange body with a white hardtop. It was my grandma's car and I bought it for $1,000 dollars. The one condition was that it remain in the I sold it back to her a couple of years later...for $1,000 dollars. Later, my cousin bought it (for, you guessed it, $1,000 dollars) and restored it. It was one sweet car, baby! I wish I still owned it today. One of those situations when "hindsight is 20/20". (I do still own the original gear shift knob...oops)!

2. As a child, I had a black, three-legged, Cocker Spaniel named "Tuffy Nut-nut". I also had a blind Siamese cat.

3. I don't really care for chocolate all that much. (or do I?)

4. I've never had a broken bone. Although I think I am the queen of random, bizarre injuries. When I was pregnant with Spencer, I hurt my tailbone when I coughed while walking up the stairs! Another time, I fell on a piece of glass while digging for a box of clothes in our basement. I cut a rather nice gash just below my hiney, which required numerous stitches. And I got lots of razzing about that one! (If you are familiar with the "Hello Operator"/"Miss Susie" song...well, you'll know what I mean!)

5. I'm a computer nerd. I love the computer, the Internet, blogging, email...all of it! I have a bit of a reputation for being able to find just about anything online. I also love collecting fonts and digital crafting graphics like these at PCcrafter or these cute alphabets at Lettering Delights. They come in handy for crafting, church callings or for adding some pizzaz to my journal (which is also on the computer!)

6. I love the ocean, but not the beach...firstly, I don't really have a "beach body" (beached whale, maybe?) and secondly...I don't like to get dirty! All that sand...yuck! But I really ♥ the ocean.

7. My hubby is my best friend. I have known him since 2nd grade. We went to school together from 2nd grade all the way through High School. We even lived in the same ward for about 4 years. We became really good friends in HS and the rest is history! Like me, he's a pretty quiet, private person. Once you get to know him, he's lots of fun and wickedly funny!

And I tag: Amy, and let's see...ummm...

*crickets chirping*...

(quit laughing, Connie!)
Well, that's all I got!