Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Busy Halloween

We ran out of Halloween goodies about an hour ago, and as the last of our trick-or-treaters left, Anna turned to Grammy Joan and said, "This was the best day ever." I had to agree.

After Anna came home from preschool, I picked up Sam from school, we ate a quick lunch and then drove out to the base for Tony's promotion ceremony. It was so nice that Joan could be here for such a wonderful event for Tony. Tony's only request was that the kids come in their Halloween costumes. Joan and I got to pin his new major clusters on his uniform jacket and pound them in for luck and the kids changed out the epaulets on his shirt. It was so fun to have them involved in the ceremony.

After the ceremony, I ran Sam back to school and stayed to help with his class's Halloween party, if you can call it that because they didn't get to dress up. Bah humbug, I say. It is the sweetest class and we had a ball playing BINGO, eating treats and making candy necklaces.

At about 5:30, Tony got home from work and he and Joan took the kids trick-or-treating in our neighborhood while I handed out treats at home. It was THE most gorgeous day...the kids didn't even need jackets and came home with full candy bags and huge smiles. Josh even rode along in his stroller with his bunny ears on. For the record, Sam was a magician, Anna was his lovely assistant, and Josh was the rabbit.

Hope you had a wonderful, safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Illustrated

Just a quick post...I've been meaning to share this CUTE craft idea from Anna's preschool. You could really do it any time of the year, but since now is the best time to find spider rings, I thought I'd better share it now.

We all know the song "The Itsy-bitsy Spider", but how is this for a great idea?? Find or draw a picture of a house. Next, use an elbow straw for a "water spout", thread on a spider ring, and tape at the top and bottom of the straw so the spider stays on the straw, but can still move up and down as you sing.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How I Met Your Father

It's not often anymore that we get the question, "So, where did you two meet?" There are actually two versions. The short, succinct version: we were in the same singles ward at BYU. Seriously. And then there is the longer, more complicated story. That, my friends, is the story I'm gonna tell. Because 13 years ago today, my fate was sealed to Tony's. You'll understand why in a minute.

My roommates and I were sort of pranksters. We could sure dish it out, let me tell you. But since Tony and his friends worked nights at the MTC, we didn't get to know them very well for a bit. Then in October 1995, we had a ward activity that involved a condiment war. That escalated quickly. I don't remember all the details, but we were owed one. So one glorious October Sunday, while us sweet, innocent girls were attending church, Tony and his friends broke into our apartment. And filled our bedroom up with crumpled newspaper. But that's not the worst part. On their way out, they locked our deadbolt from the inside (that couldn't be unlocked from the outside), snuck out the window, and closed it all the way. So, when we got home from church, we couldn't get into our apartment .

The guys, ever anxious for us to see the mess they made in our bedroom, ended up having to break our front window to get us back into our apartment. We carefully cleaned up the glass and stuck it in a paper bag and tucked it under the broken window. After pictures, we started the clean-up process. The girls would take armfuls of newspaper out to the porch and the guys would take the newspaper three flights of stairs down to the recycle bin.

Needless to say, our stack of newspaper got bigger as they had farther to go. Someone had the great idea to jump in the pile of newspaper on the front porch, we yelled "dog pile!" all jumped on top of each other and I jumped on top of everyone, slid down the backside, and right into the bag of glass, left shoulder first. It didn't hurt right away, but there was some blood running down my arm so I griped, "Look what you guys did!" and went into the kitchen, pulled up my sleeve, and the blood started pumping out of my arm. I lost so much blood so quickly that I passed out in the car on the way to the emergency room. They figured a piece of the glass went about 5 inches in to my arm and towards my shoulder. I severed a major artery in my upper arm, lost about 4 pints of blood and ended up with about 45 stitches. And where was Tony during my stay in the ER? At my house. Mopping up my blood. Of course, it was bad enough trying to heal without the 18 credit hours I was taking, and then they gave me codeine...before we realized it made me sick. So I was a mess for about 2 weeks. But the guys felt so bad they payed for the window, made us food, and checked in whenever they could.

I got a nifty scar that tells me when it's going to rain out of the deal. But I also snagged me a great guy. We were engaged at Christmas and married the next May.
You can't make up a story like that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Jeni from At Home In Georgia BOOed our blog today.

Here are the rules: Pick some people to BOO and let them know that they have been BOO-ed. Have them link back to your blog to pick up their treat (picture) so they can BOO their friends. Put the picture on your sidebar so everyone knows that you have been BOO-ed.


The Cochran's 3rd Annual Pumpkin Carving FHE

Last night, the Cochrans hosted their 3rd Annual Halloween FHE. I wish I had taken a few more pictures, but we were too busy eating (brats, baked beans, salads, and an assortment of Halloween themed goodies), feeding our portion of the 16 little goblins in attendance, supervising pumpkin painting, and watching the dads carve pumpkins. The kids even braved the chilly evening to jump on the trampoline. There was lots of laughter, house talk, work talk, and even an impromptu doctor consult in the dining room...hope that football injury isn't season-ending, Ben!

Thanks, Cochrans for the delightful evening!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Birthday Girl

For the last two weeks we have tried to convince Anna that she should be four forever. I mean, we'd celebrate her birthday anyway, with presents and cake, but she had to stay four. But today, she turned five anyway.

We had our family party last night so that Megan could be here. Anna picked french fries and nuggets for dinner and sticky rolls for breakfast. And a pink cake, of course. We've had some killer wind storms the last few days and the electricity went out last night just as we were getting ready to sing and blow out candles...perfect.

One of the things that makes our Anna so special is her giving heart. She is a favorite play-date pal, and always is willing to share her toys. She is constantly drawing pictures for those she loves. She shares her treats with her little brother. And just yesterday, her primary teacher told me that their lesson had been on serving others. Anna decided that a way she could serve her family was by letting us open her birthday presents. Yep, the ones she's been dreaming about and staring at for 3 weeks. We declined.

Happy birthday, Princess! May your sixth year be blessed. We love you to infinity and beyond!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dem Bones

I came across this recipe for bone shaped breadsticks while searching for fun Halloween party food ideas for our family Halloween parties next week. They were easy. And too cute to be spooky. My kids aren't nuts about salty breadsticks, so I buttered ours and added cinnamon sugar.

Salty Bones

1 tube of refrigerated breadstick dough
Coarse salt (or cinnamon sugar)

Unroll a tube of refrigerated breadstick dough and separate the rectangular pieces.
Working with one piece at a time, stretch the dough to lengthen it a bit and then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut a 11/2-inch slit in the center of each end.
Roll or shape the resulting four flaps of dough into knobs that look like the ends of a bone. Place the dough bones on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them a few inches apart, and sprinkle on a little coarse salt. Bake the bones at 375 degrees until they are light golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Confession Is Good For the Soul

I've got a confession to make today, my friends. I am nuts about Christmas. Nuts enough that I already have handmade over half the 150 Christmas cards our family will send this year. I won't write the newsletter or get the photo taken until closer to Christmas (like after it actually snows), but the cards will be done before Halloween. I love to see them all lined up in their boxes. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I was flipping through Becky Higgins' Creative Cards book earlier this week and got inspired by a Christmas card she did with pine bough pipe cleaners. So I made a set of Christmas thank you cards today, too. Just so we're all ready.

Can we still be friends?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tagged & Housekeeping

Eloise over at Weasel's Journey tagged me with a new "5 Things" tag and so I'm playing along.

Top four wishes:
1. That my children will always remember that they are children of God.
2. A long life with those I love.
3. Two whole weeks to explore the Louvre. With no interruptions.
4. To stay in Nebraska instead of moving next summer.

Four places I want to travel:
1. Greece
2. Egypt
3. Brazil with Tony
4. Rome (so with ya on that one, Eloise.)

Four careers I would like to be involved in:
1. Museum curator
2. Art history professor or elementary school art teacher
3. Editor
4. Jeopardy champ

Four things I would like God to say to me at the gates of Heaven:
1. "Enter into My rest."
2. "Welcome, Home" (good one, Eloise)
3. "You were a wonderful, loving wife, mother and friend."
4. "Come this way to learn who killed JFK."

Also, I was lucky enough to get this great award from the lovely Leslie at Our Family. Such a creative lady that I was flattered to get it from her! Just passing it along to a couple ladies this time...

I was lucky enough to meet Nicole from Our Cozy Nest through Tip Junkie's giveaway in July. Such a talented and sweet lady.

Just met Lemon Annie. Love her already.

I promise a real post soon...been finishing up Halloween costumes today.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Laughs

Has anybody else seen this?? I've always loved SNL, but they outdid themselves this time. I'm gonna have the Sarah Palin veep rap stuck in my head all day.>1=42003

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Booed" Treats & Rockin' the Vote

We have the most awesome neighborhood...full of kids and the young at heart. Every year, we "boo" each other by leaving a ghost and goodies at neighbor doors and then hanging our ghost on our front door. I'm sure many of your neighborhoods do the same thing. Well, we got "booed" this week. So the kids and I (and Megs, who just happened to be up taking, and passing!!, her R.D. exam) made the cutest Nutter Butter ghosts to use to "boo" two of our neighbors. We just took Nutter Butter cookies, dipped them in melted almond bark and added mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. We threw them in a cellophane bag and voila!

And lookie, lookie what came in the mail today. Although the new president will most likely be selected before the polls actually close in Alaska, I'll proudly cast my ballot anyway. Just my small but significant voice adding to the chaos of Election Day 2008. How blessed we are to live in a country where we get a say in the way we are governed!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Much to the dismay of my husband and children, I hate to give candy to Trick-or-Treaters. So for the last few years, I have tried to come up with something fun that is non-candy. Last year, it was these. This year, I stalked the Target $1 Spot until they got their Halloween goodies in and bought pencils, mini notebooks, and erasers. then Anna helped me stuff them (plus some leftover stickers from last year) into baggies. I used a $1 Michael's stamp and my computer to come up with the tag and Tony stapled them all on. So we're all set...bring on the Trick-or-Treaters!!

My sewing machine has been a hummin' this week also, making baby gifts and Halloween costumes. I also dug out a cute Buttermilk Basin Halloween stitchery pattern and whipped up a cute little hanging for my entry. I love the silly little ghost.

And it is finally chilly enough to wear my trusty red slippers that have been waiting patiently beside my bed all summer. You better believe I'll be enjoying some hot chocolate, wearing my slippers, and watching TV after my run tonight, tucked under a blanket. I LOVE Fall!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Alisa's Pumpkin Fudge

Just little bitty squares of pumpkin heaven!

Alisa's Pumpkin Fudge

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 oz.) pkg. vanilla flavored baking chips
2 c. miniature marshmallows
1/3 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla

Line 8" square pan with aluminum foil and grease foil. Lightly grease sides and bottom of medium saucepan with butter. Combine sugar, milk, pumpkin, butter, salt and pumpkin pie spice in saucepan. Stirring constantly over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil; boil for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking chips and marshmallows until melted. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Chill until set. Cut into small squares to serve. Cover and store in refrigerator.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Syracuse Treasures

Josh and I got to spend a day this past week down in Syracuse with Kristi. We had such a great time exploring the cute downtown shops and a couple fun little spots in Nebraska City. Josh's favorite part was meeting the Bennett's new puppy, Mo. He found Mo's nose!

And a couple of the treasures I picked up...I found this darling cheese dome at a little store and actually just bought it for the dome and was going to throw the old wooden base away. But I bought some matte black spray paint and painted the base black, put a mini white pumpkin under the dome and voila! And as we were checking out at a little craft mall, I spotted a garland of these darling little vintage wooden shapes, all strung along a rusted old wire. So we snatched it up, used the wire to turn the wooden shapes into ornaments and put it on a little tree. All you talented ladies out there are turning me into a Halloween decorating nut!!

But the best part of the day was hanging out with Kristi and Josh...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh, Baby!

We've got a little bit of baby mania going on at my house. My sister-in-law Lena is expecting a new little baby girl sometime over the Christmas holidays. So we've been up to our chin with fun stuff putting together her baby gift. And I made the invitations to her family baby shower this past week. They turned out so fun that I had to share them. And then share a couple of other cute baby ideas that just NEED to be shared.

First, my sister April shared this idea with me for an idea for a baby shower. As your guests walk in, have a pretty basket of newborn diapers waiting on a table with a bunch of Sharpie markers and an empty basket for the completed diapers. Then have each guest write a short message on a diaper to either the new baby or the new mother. Can you imagine the uplift of seeing a sweet note from a loved one in the middle of the night when you're changing a diaper...for the third time??

And this last idea is perfect for a new mother who isn't getting a formal baby shower but who could use a little baby love. One of my friends in our ward here did this for another lady in our ward who was having her first baby, but was so busy that a formal shower was difficult. She emailed out this note and organized the "drops" with reminder emails. It went off without a hitch and was cute to boot!

Any fun ideas you'd like to share??

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Torture, Grandma-Style

Anna got a box addressed to her in the mail yesterday. Full of gorgeously wrapped birthday gifts. What's the downside of having a very organized and efficient Grandma?

Gifts you have to stare at for 3 whole weeks before you can open them.

Pure torture.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Death Bed & Big Red

Okay, so I wasn't really on my death bed, but it sure felt like it for a day or two. Joshua was kind enough to share a nasty virus that had me running a fever of about 102 off and on for 3 days, complete with body aches, heat rashes and fever blisters in my throat. I'm feeling a little stronger every day and hope to be back up and at 'em bright and early Monday morning.

And in other exciting news, Tony managed to get a couple of tickets to the Nebraska/Missouri game on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Megan was kind enough to come up and watch the kids while Tony and I made the pilgrimage down to Lincoln, had a bite to eat, drove around the 'ole stomping grounds and took in the pre-show. We had such a great time...we have so many wonderful memories of happy times and close friends from our 3 years in Lincoln.

There really isn't anything like the energy in Memorial Stadium on game day. The lead-up, the tunnel walk, the first kick-off, the balloon release at the first TD, throwing the bones for the's infectious. Despite the poor Nebraska showing, we had a great time, enjoyed the wonderfully warm evening, and whooped it up with 85,370 of our closest friends. This makes 294 consecutive sold-out games at Memorial Stadium (that's a NCAA record).

This is Memorial Stadium all the start of the game. Crazy. Don't let the occasional yellow confuse you. It might just be a foam corn head and not an actual Tiger fan:-) And despite the loss, it was really fun to get to see Missouri in action (wow) and be a part of the tradition that is Big Red football.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thinking Pink

This past week, I had the opportunity to have dinner with some friends, one of whom started a personal battle with breast cancer this past summer. She is a fabulous lady, talented and sweet who is fighting on her own terms, and with graceful dignity.

She shared a couple of really wonderful things with us, each of which help in the fight against breast cancer. The first is through KitchenAid's Cook for the Cure and is called "Pass the Plate." KitchenAid has introduced a gorgeous ceramic plate you purchase and then on which you pass along a home cooked meal to a family member or friend. That friend can then register the plate online and pass along the plate to another family member or friend, who then registers the plate online again. KitchenAid will make a donation for every registered stop all these fabulous plates make. And KitchenAid puts its money where it's mouth has already donated $6 million for breast cancer research.

And for all you other OPI snobs out there, they have introduced Pink of Hearts 2, a nail color that is a pretty pink, to purchase and wear with pride to show your support in the fight against breast cancer. OPI has committed to give $25,000 this year to breast cancer research. I bought mine today.

So I get to have pretty nails AND help the fight against breast cancer. Is there a down side??

Thursday, October 2, 2008

This & That

Just a bunch of random good things today.

First of all, my sister April found this darling Conference packet by Deseret Book and I wanted to share. Very cute...and good for the older kids as well. I am so looking forward to this be encouraged and counseled.

The second thing is the reminder that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So I'm eating my Yoplait and I've got my Susan G. Komen "sharing the promise" bracelet on and am supporting those around me who are unfortunately struggling with this monstrous disease. Read why I'm so neurotic about it here.

Next, Nicole from Our Cozy Nest was
kind enough to pass along a BFF Blogger award to me several weeks ago and I wanted to continue the love!

1. My uber-talented friend, Jeni at My Home in Georgia finally started a blog several months ago and she is a constant source of inspiration and enthusiasm. Check out this darling Halloween countdown board!

2. Cocoa from Chocolate On My Cranium is a blog I read every day. I love how sweet, grateful and down-to-earth this darling family is. And I'll let you in on a little secret, if you don't already know. Cocoa shares awesome FHE lesson outlines every Monday, for example this one about General Conference.

3. Lizzy at My Ice Cream Diary just had a baby. She is obsessing right now about organizing, purging and cleaning, all with a bowl of ice cream in one hand. And I'm so grateful for her fabulous sense of humor.

4. Eloise from Weasel's Journey shared her corn bake recipe with me, an absolute stranger. That alone warrants this award. But she is a gracious, loving mother and her posts constantly remind me to be grateful for my blessings. And she gets to travel to a lot to cool places and it's about all I can do to not be jealous enough to just drop her from my google reader. But maybe, just maybe, by sharing this award, I've earned my passage on the next adventure...? Please?:-)

5. Leslie at Our Family is a friend of a friend. She leaves the sweetest, kindest comments. And she decorates like a pro.

There you go ladies. Thanks for being such an inspiration to me!

And last, but not least, my friend Jen gave me a set of wooden blocks and vinyl to spell out "spooky." I loved the idea, but got an itch to try something a little different. This is how it turned out. I just draped a little spider web and set it on a plate easel.

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pumpkin Cobbler

I'm not a huge pumpkin fan. I'd much rather decorate with them than eat them. However, this freebie recipe I found while browsing through my Gooseberry Patch catalog sounded intriguing so I gave it a whirl tonight. Not only is it stinkin' easy, it is serious pumpkin deliciousness. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cobbler

3 eggs, beaten
15 oz. can pumpkin
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. vanilla

18 1/4 oz. box yellow cake mix
1 1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped nuts

Mix the first set of ingredients together and pour into an ungreased 9" x 13" pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the top; drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes; top with nuts. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.