Friday, February 29, 2008

Day Before March

I was waiting for Sam when the bell rang after school. Before the bell was actually through ringing, he came out the front doors, saw me, and ran into my arms yelling, "Tomorrow is March! Tomorrow is March!" It has been a long, cold winter and the very hope of March made us giddy all the way home. AND Megan is coming this weekend. Tomorrow holds so much promise!!

I also wanted to share a challenge made by Heather at {unwrapped} to come up with a 4x6 card that describes yourself so that she can create a blog file of the people who visit her blog. This is my contribution. (click on it to view it bigger)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Two Nap Day

Life is so much better on a two nap day.

Tip Junkie Love

Laurie at Tip Junkie was kind enough to pass along an award to me this week for posting one of the ideas that she gathered for teacher gifts! Her blog is fantastic and I am already planning Sam's end-of-the-year teacher gift from one of the other ideas she shared. So, now I get to pass the love along to 3 other ladies who inspire me with great ideas, tips and know-how.

Of course, I have to highlight my Kristi is is constantly sharing great tips, recipes and ideas. She is also my one lady cheering squad and encourages me to try new things and then admires them...even if they turn out ugly. AND she's the one who got me started on this whole blogging thing. Check out this great Flickr collage...

Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom hosts the best slow-cooker recipe exchange every Thursday and has added some much needed diversity to my family's dinner menu. Plus, I save all sorts of time by cooking all day and can do more FUN stuff.

And last, Jennwa at Ramblings of a Crazy Woman comes up with the cutest crafts for kids...out of things we have around the house. My recent favorite is this tip for making a book chain for my son. WINNER!

Well, there you go, ladies. Pick up your award here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pot of Gold

Nothing too spectacular for Scribbit's Winter Bazaar this week. I don't have much to offer in the St. Patrick's Day arena, and we had snow AGAIN yesterday, so I'm not quite ready to dip into my Spring ideas yet. So here is the compromise.

I am bringing the door prize to Book Group tonight. I looked all over yesterday for a cute little ANYTHING...with no luck. Then I ran across this box of Hershey's Pot of Gold Truffles, and inspiration struck. I made a little tag with a shamrock stamp and "Lucky You" on it and attached it to the box with some curly gold curling ribbon. This could be great for Visiting Teaching gifts, neighbors or teachers if so inclined. Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sam's "Kind" Mousetrap

So, our delightful Sam was very busy this weekend at his art table apparently devising the world's first "kind" mousetrap. Let me digress a moment. We don't have a mouse problem at our home, knock on wood. And although Sam is an animal FANATIC, he seems to find no qualms about hunting animals. So we're not sure where this whole responsible extermination idea evolved from. I hope my pictures do it justice.

When I asked Sam to explain his idea, he said that he made the trap look like a clubhouse...a cool place where mice would want to hang out and eat cheese. So they would voluntarily enter the trap through the font door.

The mouse will believe that he is in for a grand 'ole time until he looks at the wall on the inside of the trap where the back side of the door is. The monster's mouth is covering the door, frightening the mouse so badly that he won't be able leave back through the door.

And if that isn't enough to stop the mouse's escape, the sign on the floor meaning "do not leave, mouse" is sure to do the trick.

When Sam finds a mouse in his mousetrap, he plans on releasing him in the backyard. Easy. PETA would be proud.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Card Group Cards & A New Personal Best

Fun day today. Got a whole slew of things accomplished. I also took some "fun time" for me and finished up my card group cards for this month's exchange. The challenge was to create a card that could be used to give a gift card, instead of the strange little wrap-around things they give you at the store. AND I just used my stash, which is the best part. (The flowers are white, despite what they look like in the picture!)

And in other exciting news, Tony and I ran another 5K race this morning. And despite a puny training week for me because of my nasty cold, we still managed to set a new personal best time of 33:25...about 45 seconds off our last race time. Bless Tony's heart, he stayed with me and encouraged me the entire race. What a guy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maple Praline Chicken

Another WINNER from our Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker Recipes! I thought that the Cajun seasoning might make it a little too spicy for the kids but they loved it, probably because it's a touch sweet, too. For more excellent slow cooker recipes, check out Sandra's Slow Cookin' Thursday!

Maple Praline Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 c. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped pecans

Sprinkle chicken with Cajun seasoning. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken in butter until golden. Arrange chicken in a slow cooker. Mix together syrup, brown sugar and pecans; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours. Yummy with wild rice!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The good news is that school was cancelled and Sam got to stay home and play with us today. The bad news is why. With wind chill, the temperature outside is a balmy -28 degrees. As in 28 degrees BELOW zero. At least there's a little sunshine outside to go with our frostbite. So we've spent the day working on art projects, doing puzzles, watching cartoons (Wonder Pets is too cute) and pretty much destroying the basement.

Yes, that is the family tent, and yes, it is set up in our basement. That's what happens when mom gets a night off and daddy's in charge.

Have a good one...and stay bundled up!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Shamrock Pin

I'm not very hip on the whole St. Patrick's Day thing, but I'd wear one of these cute pins to avoid getting pinched! Easy idea for your VT ladies or for your kids' teacher.

I used a stencil to trace the shamrock shape (it's about 3 inches tall) onto tissue paper and then cut two shamrock shapes out of scrap wool felt in green. I then blanket stitched around the outside of the shamrock with black DMC floss (2 strands) and left an opening just big enough to stuff it with a touch of fiberfill. Then I finished the blanket stitching and stitched on a bit of black and white ribbon and a green button in the middle of the shamrock. Glue gun (or stitch) a pin back on and you're done. (You can click on the pictrue to view it larger.)

I made a paper backing that included this cute Irish blessing and pinned the shamrock on:

"May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And Heaven accept you."

For more great ideas, recipes and crafts, visit Scribbit's Winter Bazaar!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekend in Review

It has been a busy, delightful weekend around here...and the best part is that it's not even over yet! I love it when the world shuts down on Monday because I get Tony and Sam home and we get a shorter rest-of-the-week to boot.

Late Friday night Megan came up to spend the night with us. We all got to play and have naps on Satuday and Megs, Josh and I got a little window shopping in while Tony and the two big kids went to the gym. Megs was kind enough to watch the kids on Saturday evening while Tony and I went to Red Lobster for dinner to celebrate Valentine's Day (thanks Becky & Russ for the gift card). Then church and Hteachers on Sunday. Then Sunday evening, Tony got me a hotel room at TLF to spend the night ALL BY MYSELF. I read, watched TV in bed, slept in, and tried to fight off a nasty cold that Anna was kind enough to share with me. Needless to say, I'm a bit behind in normal life, which includes reading my favorite blogs and updating my own blog. I did come across some cool ideas this morning in my meanderings before I returned home, so stay tuned.

And in other news, Cocoa at Chocolate On My Cranium was kind enough to pass along an award to me...she is a sweetheart and one of the friends I have made exclusively through blogging. She makes having seven well adjusted and sweet children and an ordered household look effortless. I'll be passing the love along soon.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Little Wonders

My friend Camie has had this Rob Thomas song playing on her blog for the last few days and I have found myself lingering there, listening to it over and over again. I love the message of this song and I am so grateful for the "small hours" of my day. Enjoy the's from Meet the Robinsons and is candy for the eyes and the heart.

Make sure you wipe the drool off your keyboard when you're done.

Could YOU Sleep Like This?

I think not.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

For all you lucky ladies out there who will be getting roses today from your sweetheart, I found a great way to enjoy your flowers a little longer...Woman's Day Magazine (Febrary 12, 2008) has a recipe for DIY Poutourri that is easy and is sure to smell divine! Just dry your Valentine's roses, and add the petals to the mix below.

DIY Potpourri

Dry rose petals
1/4 cup whole cloves
1 cup whole allspice
10 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks, broken in pieces
8 whole bay leaves
4 whole nutmeg
3 Tbsp. star anise
2 Tbsp. whole cardamom pods

If you know my husband, you can attest that he is pretty non-demanding. So when he requested a specific cake for Valentine's Day, I was floored. And excited to comply.

German Chocolate Cheesecake (from Jeni Harmon)

1 package German chocolate cake mix
(Bake according to directions and pour cake mix into greased 9" by 13" pan.)

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
(Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour over raw cake mix. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until done.)

Coconut Pecan Frosting
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla

Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir often...bottom will burn if the heat is too high. Add 1 cup coconut and 1 cup chopped pecans. Cook until thick enough to spread. Frost cooled cake.

Jennwa at Ramblings sent along a little blog love this past week and I wanted to pass it along to Kawaii Crafter at Zakka Life. She made the CUTEST Kimono Dum-Dum Valentines. Thanks for the cute, and thrify, inspiration!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tagged Squared

What's up with all the tagging? I'm game, but I'm doing a new post tomorrow morning, so you'll have to read REALLY quickly.

This COUPLES tag is from Darci...
How long have you been together? 12 years
How long did you date? 6 months
How old is he? 6 months older than me (33)
Who eats more? I
Who said "I love you" first? I think he did.
Who is taller? Tony is, but not by as much as he pretends.
Who is smarter? Me. Definitely me. Except when it comes to law stuff. And geography. Oh, and math. And physical science. But I'm the one who knows how to make a Mai Tai.
Who does the laundry? I do, but he helps fold and put away if I get swamped.
Who does the dishes? Usually me because I'm neurotic and have a special way they have to go in the dishwasher.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? He does.
Who pays the bills? I do.
Who mows the lawn? He does.
Who cooks dinner? I do, but he does a mean Saturday morning breakfast.
Who is more stubborn? He is.
Who kissed who first? I kissed him first...such a hussy.
Who asked who out? He asked me out first...after the first kiss. Seriously.
Who proposed? He did at the Manti temple.
Who is more sensitive? ME.
Who has more friends? He's a bit anti-social.
Who has more siblings? He does, by 1.

This ones from April...
What were you doing 10 years ago? Working at ZCMI and waiting for Tony to graduate and commission.
Five things on my to do list
1. Laundry
2. Finish Courtney's baby gift
3. Not eat chocolate
4. Make soccer phone calls
5. Cut apples for Sam's Valentine's party
Things I would do if I was suddenly made a billionaire
1. Buy Tony a Ridgeline
2. Pay off the house
3. Invest
4. Spend the afternoon at Ben Franklin 2 with Kristi
Three of my bad habits
1. I obsess.
2. I obsess.
3. I throw all my clothes on the floor of my closet.
Five places I have lived
1. Anchorage, Alaska
2. Provo, Utah
3. San Angelo, Texas
4. Spokane, Washington
5. Great Falls, Montana
Five jobs I have had
1. Restaurant hostess
2. Sold baby clothes at ZCMI
3. Fragrance girl
4. Diamond broker
5. Mama
Things people don't know about me
1. I'm all about the hunt...I think that's why I love antique stores.
2. If given the choice, I will always pick red.
3. I got my first bee sting at the age of 31 (on the bottom of my foot).
4. I HATE Rod Stewart.
5. I will organize until the day I die.

I'm NOT tagging anyone in particular, so play along if you'd like.

February Challenge #2

I loved Ali's Valentine tutorial so much that I took her up on her second February challenge...using a punch and repetition to create a project.

I had a long, skinny frame that has a 5" by 12" opening. I cut a piece of white cardstock to 5" by 12" and raided my paper stash to find coordinating papers for a Valentine's Day themed art piece. All the paper is Chatterbox (which made coordinating a breeze) and I only needed enough for a punch (I'm a paper hoarder). The ribbon across the middle is also Chatterbox. I wanted it to have a little dimension like Ali's butterflies, so I opted to take the glass out. I crumpled the paper and then ironed it flat for texture. I also lightly sponged black ink along the edges of the hearts to tie it in to the black frame. I spaced the hearts evenly and attached them with a tiny pop-dot.

I love the way it turned out so much, I'm going to repurpose it for St. Patrick's Day with green shamrocks. I made the entire thing with stuff from my stash...whoo-hoo for me!

For more great ideas, activities and recipes, check out Scribbit's Winter Bazaar!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

February VT Gifts

My dear friend Kristi encouraged me to share some of the ideas that I come up with for visiting teaching gifts for the ladies that we visit each month. I try to come up with something that is about $1 and challenge myself to create something fun out of it. For November, for example, I used these ceramic leaf ramekins from Target's $1 spot and filled them with blessing mix. I usually start thinking about things for the next month's gift a month ahead of time because like any inexpensive, cute things, they're gone before you know it. I got the heart dishes I used for February at Michaels for $1 when I was shopping their after Christmas sale. Last time I was there, they were all gone. I loved that they were oven safe, so I made little mini cakes (chocolate, of course) and frosted them and added a flower shaped sugar decoration to the top. Easy!

Friday, February 8, 2008


This is what happens when a normally attentive mother is vacuuming upstairs and a baby brother is left downstairs alone with a big sister who prayed for a baby sister...

...and got him instead.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sam Funniness & Tagged

Usually, I get to experience the funny things our children say. Earlier this week, Tony got a taste of this sweet part of stay-at-home motherhood. Tony was taking Sam to school on his way to work. They got into a conversation about what would happen if you got shot in different body parts...obviously a boy chat between a hunter and a wanna-be hunter.

Sam: Dad, what would happen if someone got shot in the arm?
Tony: They would probably bleed a lot, but probably wouldn't die.
Sam: How about if they got shot in the brain?
Tony: They would probably die.
Sam: How about if they got shot in the heart?
Tony: They would probably die if they got shot in the heart.
Sam. Oh.

Long pause. Then Sam put his right hand on his forehead and chuckling, uttered this gem.

Sam: If our heart was where our brain was and our brain was where our heart was, we'd have to put our hand on our head to say the pledge of allegience, wouldn't we?

You're absolutely right, big guy.

Bonnie B. tagged me for my 5 Favorite Songs. I didn't even know where to start with this one, so I broadened it to top 5 Favorite Artists. Hopefully, this will help my sister-in-law Ange to fill up her iPod with running tunes.

5. Sophie B. Hawkins--She's had a couple big hits, and I love her throaty, raspy voice. But the best part about Sophie B. is that her song "As I Lay Me Down" was playing on repeat during my first kiss with Tony. I still love to listen to her when I'm feeling especially sultry which after 3 kids, isn't as often as I'd like.

4. The Goo Goo Dolls--I'll never forgot the first time I heard Black Balloon. GREAT running music. I love Iris. And Big Machine. And Let Love In. And Slide...

3. The Beatles--My obsession with The Beatles started in junior high. I love it all. Mostly the early stuff with a little Hey, Jude and Sgt. Pepper thrown in for variety.

2. Def Leppard--I have vivid memories of driving through the vast nothingness of central Texas with Tony on our way to San Antonio singing along to the entire "Hysteria" album at the top of our voices. I think I still own one of their concert t-shirts. I could beat anyone at pool in our basement while listening to the "Adenalize" album in high school. More great running music. And these guys just get better with age.

1. Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20. Name one person who hated Santana's Smooth. Anyone? Anyone? Have you actually SEEN Rob Thomas? Love his solo Streetcar Symphony. Unwell. Push. Long Day. Back 2 Good. Plus, did I mention Rob Thomas is hot?

But this is just a small sampling. I love almost everything when it comes to music.

Consider yourself tagged if you'd like to share in the meme joy!

BBQ Ribs

This is an absolute family favorite that my friend Jeni shared with me many moons ago. We use it at least once a month because it's easy and delicious. We love to serve it with biscuits, corn on the cob, potato salad and baked beans...even in the middle of the winter. For more excellent slow cooker recipes, check out Sandra's Slow Cookin' Thursday!

BBQ Ribs

3 1/2 lbs. pork loin back ribs (if I'm feeding a crowd, I'll use country style ribs because they have more meat on them)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 cloves pressed garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup cola or water
1 1/2 cup favorite BBQ sauce

Spray inside of your crockpot with cooking spray or put liner inside. Mix brown sugar, pepper, liquid smoke, garlic and salt; rub into ribs. If using back ribs, cut into 4 inch pieces. Layer ribs and onion into pot. Pour cola over ribs. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-9 hours or until tender. Dip ribs and discard liquid and onion. Dip ribs into BBQ sauce and then put them back into crockpot. Pour remaining BBQ sauce over ribs. Cover and cook on low setting for 1 more hour.

Check out Randi's Recipe Box Swap today for MORE great recipes!!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Okay, let me begin by saying that I have not converted to Catholicism. But about 6 years ago, my crazy sister April announced that she was "Lenting", meaning giving up something during Lent. For all you other non-Catholics, Lent is observed during the 40 days preceding Easter and starts on Ash Wednesday, the day following Mardi Gras. It is a way to commemorate the 40 days that Christ spent in the desert fasting during which time he was tempted by Satan, as well as other 40 day periods of time observed in the Bible. I thought it was a grand idea...something that could put thoughts of the Savior more prominently in my mind everyday, as well as a way to master myself. So I've Lented just about every year since. Two years ago I gave up soda for Lent with Tony's boss!!

Now, all my Catholic friends laughed at me when I told them that I was "Lenting." Apparently, "Lent" is not a verb. We should give up something FOR Lent. But for convenience, April and I still just call it "Lenting." This year, I'm Lenting chocolate. Should make Easter all the more enjoyable. And a big "thank you" to my Catholic friends for sharing a piece of themselves with me!

Homemade Valentines

I have way too many paper crafting supplies. So whenever possible, I try and use what I have on hand to create projects that I would otherwise have to Valentine's Day cards for my children's friends. It makes me challenge myself and it makes me feel better about all the money I spend on my "therapy."

These are the Valentine's cards I came up with for this year. I didn't have to buy anything for them except the candy. I used my Quickutz Squeeze and the UFO die cut with leftover paper scraps and glue. Sam and Anna both signed their own and we're set for next week!

For more great ideas, check out Scribbit's Winter Bazaar!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Hope everyone who is in a Super Tuesday state is voting today...the political junkies that live at our house will be listening to talk radio and counting delegates all day. And enjoying it, which is the scary part...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Groundhogs Day!

Wishing you a Happy Groundhogs Day! I think I might just be able to make it through six more weeks of winter if I get to spend it with these cute groundhogs!

Wish I could take credit for the idea behind these paper plate masks, but while I was waiting to pick up Sam after school yesterday, all the Kindergarteners came out in them and I knew we had to duplicate them today. Have a great weekend.

Lots of LOVE and Happy Birthday wishes to Becky, Joan and Paige!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

5K & A Happy Kid

So Tony and I had our Friday night date a little early today...we met over at the fieldhouse on base this morning and ran in a 5K race together. Now, Tony could have finished the race AND has two protein shakes by the time I finished, but he stuck it out with me anyway and it was great running with my best friend. There wasn't much of a turnout and we got lapped (TWICE) by a First Shirt, but we still had a fantastic time running together. It's something that we rarely get to do together and after I got used to the weird feeling of actually going somewhere when I run (I usually do all my running on my treadmill), I had a blast. It was my first 5K since I ran cross-country in high school. We did it in 34:11...and now I have a personal best to beat!

And in other exciting news, Josh is finally over the worst of his double ear infection. It has been a miserable week for him and it is wonderful to finally see him smile again...despite the amoxicillin rash. If he could talk, I bet he'd say it's a pretty small price to pay to feel better.