Saturday, December 22, 2012

Let It Go


I just read an incredible book about a man's true story of tragedy and forgiveness. Let It Go by Chris Williams is how Chris was able to move on, forgive, and be happy after a drunk driver hit his family's car; killing his pregnant wife and two children and seriously injuring another child. It is so inspiring how Chris' faith and trust in Christ gets him through this tragedy.

"Since the crash, I've had many conversations with people searching for peace and forgiveness in their lives, earnestly desiring to know how I was able to let it go and rely wholly on the Savior's grace in my life...We have an advocate who has been given the power and authority to carry all of our burdens, and yet I have met so many people looking and praying for the strength to carry their own burdens. Mine is yet another story of the enabling, healing, and enlightening power of Jesus Christ. He is everything, and I am nothing, and yet "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). "

Here is Chris' story in his own words:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pomegranate Almond Salad

This salad is a refreshing and festive dish. The pomegranates with the green lettuce make a great Christmas side...and it is SO GOOD!!! (Don't judge it by this picture, I had Eric hurry and take a picture of it during Thanksgiving after it was half eaten.) It is one of my favorite salads, especially during the holidays when I am sick of all the heavy and rich foods.

Pomegranate Almond Salad
  • 3 heads of Romain lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large can of mandarin oranges, drained and patted dry to get most of the liquid off
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced celery
  • 3-4 green onions chopped ( I leave these out)
  • 1 cup candied almonds - put 3 Tbsp sugar and almonds in pan. Cook on high, constantly stirring. The sugar will liquify, coat the almonds, and the almonds will get toasty. Spread on wax paper and let dry.
  • 2 pomegranates - an easy way to get the fruit out is to cut the pomegranate in half and soak in loosens the membranes so that the fruit pops right out.
***add all ingredients and top with dressing right before you eat the salad. If I am taking it somewhere I will just put everything in baggies/containers and toss it all together before we eat. Otherwise it will get soggy and have to eat it when it is fresh!

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Make this dressing the day before. Heat all ingredients on stove until sugar dissolves then store in fridge.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Paper Bag Apple Pie

Mmmmmm, Thanksgiving was delicious. What was your favorite thing to eat? Mine was this apple pie. It is super easy because you don't have to deal with rolling pastry crusts and it turned out SO GOOD!!! I don't know what the paper bag does - but some kind of magic happened in that bag that I loved!

Paper Bag Apple Pie
Recipe from The Essential Mormon Cookbook
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 Tbsp cold milk
  • 5-6 peeled and sliced apples 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (cold)
Mix crust ingredients with a fork until well blended. Press into the bottom and sides of a greased 10 inch pie plate. Toss apples with sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mound filling on top of crust. Combine topping with a fork until it is crummy. Sprinkle over apples. Put the pie in a brown paper bag and fold over edges. Oven must be completely preheated to avoid burning the bag. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Do not open oven during cooking.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rejoice and Be Glad

Psalms 118:24 - This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 - And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

"Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it." - President Uchtdorf

I am truly grateful for so many things...yet sometimes I don't appreciate the little things that each day brings.

Today I a grateful for the unique personalities of my little pumpkins.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Seseme Street Halloween

Sunny Day
Cavities are on their way
So excited to go Trick or Treat
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Seseme Street
Ghost pancakes started off our day
Halloween was A-OK
Friendly Neighbors there
As we Trick or Treat
Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Seseme Street

Happy Halloween!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

I love Chinese food...especially the sweet and sour chicken with rice. This recipe tastes just like it - but it is baked, not deep fried. Yay! It is so need to try this one!

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse chicken in water, pat dry and cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken with cornstarch, then dip into the eggs. Heat oil in a large skillet and cook chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place chicken in 9x13 greased pan. Mix all of the sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why I LOVE Dessert

When you're stressed
you eat ice cream, chocolate and sweets.
You know why?
Because "stressed" spelled backwards
is "desserts".


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Crazy Good

AAHHHHHHH! Life is CrAzY with 5 kids! Some days I wonder if I will even have time to breathe....but life is good, in fact it is great! Here are some of our newest triumphs:

Kaylee and Aaron have started school and they come home excited about the things that they are doing in their classes...Hooray for great teachers!
 Nathan has started preschool twice a week...Hooray for a much needed break for both of us.
Megan is sleeping through the night...Hooray for sleep!
 And she keeps getting cuter and chubbier by the second...Hooray for kissy cheeks.
Travis keeps me running with a few cuddles in between...Hooray for more energy to keep up with him!

Hooray for a crazy good life!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Family Summer Rec

This has been a pretty laid-back summer because of a new baby. We didn't want to plan a big vacation and getting out is pretty hard. Eric had a brilliant idea to spice up our boring summer. We created a Family Summer Rec. We sat down together as a family and decided on 12 activities that we want to do together as a family. Then every Tuesday we have done one of those activities. Most of them are things that are free or very inexpensive. Here are the things we have done:

  • We made Family Summer Rec T-shirts to wear every Tuesday
  • Bike ride
  • Made an obstacle coarse
  • Frisbee golf
  • Kid wash
  • Football ice cream
  • A compass treasure hunt
  • Wii game night (we rented a new game)
  • Family service project
  • Splash Pad and Park
  • Family Soccer game
  • Geocaching
  • A final celebration/ goodbye to Summer party
It has been so fun to have something different to look forward to every Tuesday. I found that even on the days that I wasn't excited about the activity I still had a great time! I think that we will make this a yearly tradition.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I tried these last night and it was a keeper...definitely one that I will make again!

Creamy Chicken Taquitos
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup salsa 
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup grated pepperjack or mexican blend cheese
  • 10 flour tortillas
Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine everything except for the chicken and grated cheese. Once mixed well, add the chicken and cheese and combine well. Place about 1/4 cup chicken mixture on the lower third of the tortilla and roll tightly. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Spray tops of taquitos with cooking spray so that they get more crispy. Bake 15 minutes at 425 or until crispy and golden brown.

Dip taquitos in salsa, sour cream, ranch dressing, guacamole, or whatever your heart desires.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cherish Your Role

"Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Mothers, we acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever."

-Jeffrey R. Holland

Friday, July 13, 2012

Make Your Own Butter

Are you as sick of hearing "Mom, what can I do?" as I am? Next time you hear those 5 annoying and unavoidable words here is a fun and yummy thing to do ...make your own butter:

Here's all that you need:
  • a jar with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work great)
  • whipping cream (if you let it sit out for a while to take the chill off you won't have to shake as long)
  • salt
Here's what to do:
  • Fill the mason jar about 1/2 full with the whipping cream
  • add some salt to taste (about 1/2 to 1 tsp)
  • Put the lid on tight so that the cream doesn't leak
  • and shake for about 10 to 15 minutes

  •  The cream will go through 3 stages while you are shaking. First it is all runny, then it thickens up into whip cream, and finally it separates into butter and buttermilk. When you hear a solid thunk, thunk, thunk as you shake you will know that the butter is done:
  • Drain off the buttermilk (I saved mine and made delish buttermilk pancakes with it...recipe below).
  • Enjoy your homemade butter...yum!

Buttermilk Pancakes
  •  1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
Mix dry ingredients then add egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Stir until combined. Cook on sprayed griddle and serve with your homemade butter.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Outside Movie Theater

Eric has turned our family movie nights into an outside neighborhood theater. He built this awesome screen that hangs from out deck -

It is so fun to sit outside in my backyard with family, friends, and popcorn to watch a flick. Aaron has even planned to have an outside movie for his birthday party...good times!

Here's how Eric made the screen:
  • get a 10 x 15 foot white tarp
  • create a frame out of pvc pipes that is slightly larger than the tarp with pvc going down the middle for added support. Eric also added legs to take some of the weight off of the deck and so that it could be free standing.
  •  connect the tarp to the frame with bungee balls at each of the tarp's grommets

  • attach the screen to the deck with eye bolts and carabiners   

And you could have an outdoor movie theater too! Have fun!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Family Frisbee Golf

My husband is an ultimate freak...Ultimate Frisbee that is. When his birthday rolled around I wanted to do something together as a family that involved his favorite and frisbees. I found this great idea of making your own Frisbee Golf game over at the dating divas where you can find printables and instructions. They did it as a date night (which would be fun as well) but I adapted it for a family fun night.

What you need:
  • a Frisbee for each person (having your own color is ideal...but I realize that most people don't have 20 different Frisbees like we do)
  • 6 baskets or targets to throw the Frisbee in
  • notes attached to each target
  • score cards (you can print one from the link above)
 Here's How:
  • The game is like miniature golf, only using a Frisbee. You each take turns throwing your Frisbee to the designated targets. Keep track of how many throws it takes to hit the target. Lowest score wins (which is always Eric in our family).
  • For an extra twist, I added notes at each target. When we had all completed that round, we would read the note and do what it said. It was Eric's birthday so the notes said things like "Tell Dad why you love him", "What is your favorite thing to do with Dad?", "Give Dad a big hug", "Sing Happy Birthday really loud for everyone to hear."
  • We have also played where we just went to the park and we all took turns choosing the next target. Some were going through a soccer goal-post, hitting a specific tree, landing the Frisbee on a park bench, getting it in the net of a basketball hoop, etc. We kept playing until we had made it around the park.
This has turned into one of our favorite things to do together. It can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it. We have done it in our yard and at the park. It's a fun way to spend some time together without spending any money!

 (Eric had to hold Megan as his "handicap" but he still kicked our cans!)
Have Fun!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thick and Thin

My life is a little unbalanced right now. The quality time that I get to spend with my kids is spread thin... I feel like I am being pulled in at least 6 different directions at one time. For example; when I thought that I was a pretty awesome mom by taking Nathan and Travis to the splash-pad I was quickly humbled when I asked Nathan if he was having fun and he replied, "Yes, but only you didn't play with us" - I couldn't because I was holding Megan while I watched them play. Or when Kaylee got home from an exciting day with her friend and she was trying to tell me about it while Travis interrupted us because he needed to go potty. I was so distracted that I had to ask her several times to repeat herself, then I wasn't paying attention to Travis' pooping so he wiped himself, got poop on his hands and then wiped them on my pants...lovely! Kaylee stopped her story and said "Wow, I don't think I want to be a mom."Or when Aaron barely made it to Scout Camp because I woke up 5 minutes before he was supposed to be there. Or when Eric had to cut his own hair because I was busy nursing Megan.
My time is thin while my waistline, butt, and thighs are fat and my eyelids are heavy.
Why can't I just swap the two? I could sure stand to lose a few pounds and inches around my waist and to get rid of the bags under my eyes. While I would love to gain some more time to play with my kids, have a coherent conversation with Eric before I go to sleep, uninterrupted time to listen to Kaylee's stories, and to just sit and hold Megan for as long as I want to before she grows.
Oh well. I guess that's life; to get through the thick and thin each day no matter how unbalanced and to look for the small fleeting moments when life does seem right and perfect.

(I don't even have time to take a picture before that gets interrupted :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Example

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, shared a story about his father, the scientist Henry Eyring, who served on the Utah Bonneville Stake high council. He was responsible for the welfare farm, which included a field of onions that needed to be weeded. At that time, he was nearly 80 and suffering from painful bone cancer. He assigned himself to do weeding even though the pain he felt was too great to allow him to kneel, so he pulled himself along on his stomach with his elbows. Yet he smiled, laughed, and talked happily with the others who were there that day.
President Eyring said of the incident:
“After all the work was finished and the onions were all weeded, someone [said to my father], 'Henry, good heavens! You didn't pull those weeds, did you? Those weeds were sprayed two days ago, and they were going to die anyway.'
”Dad just roared. He thought that was the funniest thing. He thought it was a great joke on himself. He had worked through the day in the wrong weeds. They had been sprayed and would have died anyway. …  I [asked] him, 'Dad, how could you make a joke out of that?' … He said something to me that I will never forget. … He said, 'Hal, I wasn't there for the weeds.'”

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful fathers in my life. I am so grateful to your examples to me. For my Grandpa who is constantly looking for ways to serve others even though he is 80; for my Dad who always has a smile on his face despite his challenges. For my Father-in-Law and his dedication to his family and church. And for my sweet husband and father of my children and his example of patience and how to play and have fun with our kids. All of these fathers have been there "weeding" and setting examples for their children and families. And I am thankful for that.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Count Your Blessings

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. 
 Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy 
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
 Doctrine and Covenants 78:17-18: Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.
When I count my blessings and name them one by one they are Kaylee, Aaron, Nathan, Travis, and Megan. I am truly blessed!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bottled Moments

Bottled Moments
-Written by me 
These precious new-born moments need to be bottled, dried, or canned
To pull out and open on one of those unbearable days when I could use a hand.
On those days when I need a teaspoon, cup, or gallon of these moments to get me by.
I want to preserve and store up these times...hey, it's worth a try.

Like her soft baby cheeks that I always need to kiss
And all of these things that don't last and I will miss.
Like soft as silk hair that I nuzzle with my cheek,
Her hands that hold my finger and her cute little feet.

The way she cuddles up into a ball as she sleeps on my chest
And staying awake to stare at her beauty even though I should rest.
And how her brothers adore her and are so gentle and kind
Would come in handy when these loving feelings are hard to find.

Her fleeting smiles that come and go and her soft baby sounds
I could open and use when a quiet moment is hard to be found.
The huge spirit of love and peace that comes from such a little baby
I could use by the cup, gallon, and bucket-full when our home is so crazy.

I know that these things can't be bottled and kept
These precious times will soon be gone...except
I cannot use a measuring spoon to scoop them out and share
Instead I will treasure them in my heart and keep them safely there.