Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

May your 2010 be as carefree and joyful
as this precious little one

December Recap

Just like everyone else, my December flew by. There were a lot of things I did not do, I didn't make treats for my neighbors and I didn't blog much, I didn't have family pictures taken and I did not mail out Christmas cards. Yes, there were things I did not do but there were a lot of things I did do. This year I focused on my kids, every single day we did an activity or craft together. At the beginning of the month I made a list and we stuck to it. It was nice to put all things aside and just enjoy the holidays.

We played a lot of games, did lots of puzzles and spent many nights sleeping

near the Christmas tree watching Christmas movies

We did a few crafts with food. Our rice krispie night was my favorite, I like Addie's anatomically correct snowwoman and of course James made a football.

We did some service

We visited Santa Claus
We had a good ol' time at Grandma Susan's annual Christmas party. Delicious food, gifts galore, scavenger hunts, a visit from Santa Claus, reindeer and Santa crafts, white chocolate nativities (thanks Amber!!), singing Christmas carols with a great serenade from Uncle Jeff on the trumpet and new pillowcases from Aunt Dawn with names embroidered on them. Oh, the excitement of Christmas eve, I wish it would last longer. I get as excited as my kids to to see the look on their faces on Christmas morning.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

If at first you don't succeed

I attempted making a baked Cheesecake for the first time.

My first attempt was a failure, a big failure:

When I released the spring form pan, it collapsed and turned into a big pile of cake and crust and I wanted to cry. I was in charge of dessert for Sunday dinner and wanted it to be just right.

Instead of giving up I stayed up all night trying and trying again. Here are my second and third attempts and the recipes following.

Ta Da!

Ta Da Ta Da!

Have you ever made a baked cheesecake? It was pretty easy and so worth it. The Oreo one comes from my friend Jill, she made it one time and I think I made a fool of myself at how much I loved it so she brought me one for my birthday. Best birthday treat I had. She is a fabulous cook. The plain cheesecake which we topped with strawberries is adapted from My Kitchen Cafe which she adapted from Tyler Florence. I changed up the crust and was glad I did. I added brown sugar instead of white and doubled it and then added 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.! I absolutely adored this one. My sister is in town and she said it was one of her top three favorite desserts ever. The Oreo cheesecake is so rich and chocolaty and the other has a hint of lemon and is more of a refreshing taste and it also has twice as much crust as the Oreo one. Both delish.

P.S. If you make a baked cheesecake -spray the spring form pan well with cooking spray and let it refrigerate OVERNIGHT!!! I wouldn't release the spring after 30 minutes like the recipe says. I would suggest keeping it all tight in the pan until it has been refrigerated long enough to set and firm up. The next morning I ran a sharp knife around the pan and the cake came out nicely. I learned the hard way and ended up in the kitchen well past midnight and again the next morning trying to do it the right way. Live and learn, right?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Now THAT'S a Gingerbread house!

When my sister-in-law (many of you know Dawn) told me she was entering the Gingerbread Festival at Thanksgiving Point this year, my first thought was, "Oh how fun! I should do that one of these years." I didn't realize just how hysterical that thought was until I saw what she created. I really had no idea just how amazing (and BIG) it would turn out. The store windows really light up and even the little cakes stands are edible! Doesn't it make you happy?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

James, sports fanatic

I think it is safe to say that James is obsessed with all things sports. He LOVES to watch, play and talk about football and basketball. When he was offered $70.00 to sell his football ticket to his favorite team he, without hesitation, said, "NO WAY!" I love that he values the experience more than money. He will always remember going to sporting events with his dad.

Today was his first basketball game and he shoots . . . he scored!!!
My favorite part was watching him get into the game from the side. He was up then down then up and back down again, calling all sorts of plays, fouls, rebounds, out of bounds, you name it. Here is a very small sampling of him from the sidelines, all stressed out, energetic and having fun. The boy could not sit still.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Craft

I thought I would share an idea for an easy and inexpensive craft. It seems like every holiday I decorate with candy. I have candy for eating and candy for decorating, the candy I use in these is now three years old ~ it's great, I am not tempted and my kids know it is "yucky and old" so they don't even ask.

Anyway, on to the craft.

Here are the supplies you need:
I bought these all at Michaels, I am sure you can get them at any ol' craft store. I spent a total of 17 dollars to make the following three and that is without any coupons or sales.

I don't have step by step photos or directions, I really don't think it is necessary. It is helpful, however, to have a sister-in-law who has a craft room like a celebrity and is so generous to cut the vinyl snowflakes for me. Thanks Alissa!! You really could do a million things with this, any holiday would be cute. Who doesn't love a gumball machine? If you make one, please share the finished product ~ we'd all love to see it.

Times two

It is just my opinion,

but I think four feet

are WAY better

than two

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I asked each of my kids what they are Thankful for, these are their honest answers. These will be fun for me to look back on each year as they grow. I took these pictures today, I found it funny the twins were watching their daddy set up the tree wearing bathing suits and angel wings - they love to dress up! Julia had a Thanksgiving feast at kindergarten, I caught James after playing long and hard in the snow with his buddies.

Happy Thanksgiving
This is what we are thankful for:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Busy, busy kids

My mom watched my kids last week so I could run some errands. While I was gone she taught James and Julia a new craft. They haven't stopped since. The first day they needed constant help but now they can thread a needle, separate the thread, and put the hoop on the fabric. I am amazed at how many little projects Julia has finished all by herself. She has already made my Christmas gift, which I am certain will be one of my most favorite gifts this year. James was reluctant at first until he heard how his Uncle Jack is quite crafty. Uncle Jack is really cool and tough and way into sports so that gave James the green light. Besides, a missionary needs to know how to sew. And someday I bet his wife will be happy he can do basic sewing, right?

These are all original designs, the pile has grown tenfold since I took this.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A stick of butter on Halloween night

Halloween night I ate no candy!
But shoot, I may have eaten a whole stick of butter.
We had chicken tortilla soup and this cornbread with honey butter
You MUST make this . I have tried many cornbread recipes, even the one where you add a yellow cake mix to a box of cornbread mix (which I didn't think was all that great) This is THE only corbread I will ever serve in my house again. I want to serve soup and chili once a week just so I can accompany it with this.
Sometimes I post a recipe and hope people that try it will like it as much as I do and worry they may not. I have no doubt this will be a winner in your kitchen. So put it on your menu for a cold day this week with your favorite chili and get cooking. You can thank me later. Just beware, before you know it you may consume an entire stick of butter in the form of this honey butter.
Ready for action :
When we went to Grandma Susan's house to trick or treat, we were greeted with this sign:
When we looked in the window, this is what we saw. How cute is this?
It was a fun night, butter and all.
The look on Addie's face is the look I had on my face when I ate the cornbread,
sheer joy I tell you, sheer joy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Strange things have happened

Tonight we had a family Halloween party. There was witch hat decorating, pumpking carving, Halloween movie watching and picture taking. Very strange things happened when we saw our pictures . .. . mwaaaahahahahahah.

Make your own spooky pictures here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guessing game

Who doesn't love children's artwork? I pulled this little treasure out of James's backpack and it is one of my new favorites. He was asleep so I couldn't ask him about it. It took me a minute to figure out what this four headed monster really was. Can you figure it out?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grandma Susan's annual Halloween Party

My mom throws parties for her grandchildren that they look forward to all year long. Last night was her annual Halloween Party, fabulous as always. When we arrived it was decked out in tasteful Halloween decor and the tables set perfectly. One of my favorite things about her dinner table is everyone gets their own miniature salt and pepper shaker. (click here to see my post from last year on her Halloween Decor, it's to die for)
The food was fabulous. On the menu this year, broccoli cheese soup, rolls, salad and of course, Dunford chocolate donuts. A must for Halloween parties and every day of the year really.

We had a little photo session:The kids decorated haunted houses
Of course, the traditional Grandma Susan treasure hunt. Treasure hunts started with my mom and dad's first grandchild and continue strong for all fun get togethers and holidays. This one was my very favorite. She gave each child a glow stick and then made trails around the house of each color. The house was pitch black and the kids had to follow their own color which led them to a treasure. It was so fun, the adults had as much fun as the kids for this. I wish I could have gotten better pictures, but you get the idea.

Great big thank you to my mom, Grandma Susan for another wonderful party!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yummy fall treat

This simple treat is a family tradition, I don't remember a Halloween growing up where there wasn't a big glass pumpkin full of this. It is the perfect combination of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. It is kind of snicker-ish-y tasting, and you don't even miss the chocolate. I dare you to sit in front of a bowl of this and not eat every last corn and grain of salt. (P.S. Target does not carry Spanish peanuts, I already checked)

Fall festival

Last night we ventured over to Farnsworth farms for their weekend fall festival, it was so cute. It is just a little farm and on the weekend they show "It's the great pumpkin Charlie Brown" on the side of a trailer, have face painting, carnival games, a hay ride, a bounce house, food and some vendors. I felt like I was in a very small town, it was super cheap and the kids loved it! Everyone picked out a pumpkin, of course James hunted the biggest one on the farm which is great until you have to pay per pound, silly boy. I was just happy to find a pumpkin patch that offered more than just getting a pumpkin in the middle of a big empty field. For some reason I am bugged by pumpkin patches that just throw some pumpkins on the ground and call it good. We want hay rides and games and fun, patch people. We will definitely be going back every year.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I am so excited to share with you the Santa Barbara Bows
Halloween '09 collection!
My girls will be wearing these all month long this year and every October for years to come. Santa Barbara Bows are the best, THE best bows you can buy. They arrive to you in absolute perfection and are super stiff and hold their shape for a very, very long time. We have Halloween, Christmas and even St. Patrick's day bows from four years ago and they still look brand new. How lucky am I that my very own sister is behind these?
Order today, they are limited and will surely sell out.
Since we are on the topic of my sister and with the risk of embarassing her, I will brag a bit about one of her many talents, her writing skills. If you don't know her or read her blog start by reading this one post. You will be completely entertained and will laugh your head off. Let her know I sent you and while you are there grab some cute Halloween bows.
(I can't wait to see her Christmas collection)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Recipe you'll love to hate

We eat healthy breakfast everyday of the week at our house except Sunday. Sunday is our Waffles, Pancakes, Cinnamon Roll day and it is naughty. Today was no exception. There are a few recipes that I only allow myself to make one time every year or two, they are that good. And bad. Oh so bad. This is one of them. I absolutely love it and hate it at the same time. I have lost a few pounds the past few weeks and without a doubt put every last one back on this morning while eating this. This came from a cookbook given to me when we were first married that was written by our Stake Relief Society Presidency. With out further adieu, I present:

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

3/4 c. sugar
1 stick butter
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups frozen/fresh blueberries
Mix all ingredients (I mix dry then add to wet) and put in a 9X9X2 pan.

Prepare crumb topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, cut in
Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over cake before baking. Bate at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
I have made these into muffins in the past with great results too, just watch the baking time.

(as if a cake and crumb topping isn't enough, lets add a glaze)
1/2 cup powder sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp - 2 tsp hot water
Mix all ingredients and drizzle over cake while hot.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day adventures

Since we are so lucky to be a short half hour drive to the the canyon we thought we would head up for Labor Day. I had heard about Silver Lake from my cousin and friend and thought it sounded perfect for us. We had so much fun enjoying the cool, crisp air, a great hike, fun company, laughter and a yummy picnik. We will be going back very soon to see the fall colors. This was a great activity for young kids, there is a great boardwalk that goes around the lake and lots of spots for fishing.

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