Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall is in the air

Fall is in the air. The nights are cooler, the days are shorter, the air is crisp, and we all have a cold. This morning I was craving pumpkin pancakes with apple cider syrup. I also had really ripe bananas that I needed to do something with. I also was feeling like a cold was trying to hit me and two of the little monkeys had runny noses. So I set to work making some yummy treats that might help us feel better and keep from getting sick :)
Here are the recipes:

Banana Muffins (makes 12 muffins) (from That Cat Can Cook)

3 or 4 Large bananas, mashed (the more bananas the moister, so I use 4)
1/2 cup white sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup, but I don’t like them too sweet)
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg and margarine together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Mix wet and dry ingredients all together! Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees F oven for approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!
*These are much more flavorful the next day, and they freeze very nicely too!
*Also, if you like walnuts, you can throw a handful of those in there as well for some added flavour and texture, or try adding chocolate chips, or better yet, BOTH! Yum :-D

Crumb Topping (from All Recipes)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Mix together and sprinkle on top of muffins before baking

I actually didn't do the crumb topping, but it sounds delightful and I want to try it sometime. I did add a few drops of wild orange and On Guard essential oils (doterra brand). They are both immune boosters and blend well with the spices in the recipe. When the muffins were done, my monkeys and I loved them. There was no significant difference in the taste with the oils added.

This pumpkin pancake recipe is one that I found last fall. It was super yummy. It is also very filling. I added 2 drops of On Guard to the syrup and 3 drops of both Wild Orange and On Guard to the pancakes. Again the monkeys loved them and there was no difference to the taste. I enjoyed them as well and my sore throat is gone. :)
HOT CIDER SYRUP:
    3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup corn syrup
    2 tablespoons butter or margarine
    1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until slightly thickened. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Pancake
Ingredients
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    1 egg
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
    In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
    Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.



Book Review: Forever, Erma

The book that I read this month was "Forever, Erma". My friend recommended this book to me. It was a wonderful read. It is a collection of Erma Bombeck's columns. I think I enjoyed this book so much because of the of the real life things she shared in a humorous way. There are many parts that are laugh out loud funny and even a few the will bring tears to your eyes.
The most interesting thing that I found with this book was that time doesn't really change that many things. Her columns spanned from the 1960's through 1996. I find it interesting that things like ironing or raising children or doing housework hasn't really changed that much. The things she wrote about then are still applicable (if not more so) now. This is a delightful book that should be found in every home.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: "The Help"

I will admit that I am a book-a-holic. I LOVE reading books. Sometimes they are new ones, sometimes they are old favorites that I just want to read again. I am usually reading at least two books at a time. One on my own and one with my husband/family as we travel places. I know that several of my friends enjoy reading too, so I thought I would start doing a book review. I must say that I am just expressing my opinion about the book. I will try hard to not give the story away. The first book that I picked is :
About a year ago, my book club read this book. It took me awhile to get into it, but I really enjoyed reading it. After reading the book, I saw the movie and thought that they did a really good job with it.  If you want to know what "The Help" is about, you can read the synopsis here.  
Recently, I decided to listen to the audiobook. (I find that I spend SO much time in my kitchen that I might as well listen to something while I'm there.)  I must say that this is one of my FAVORITE audiobooks that I have listened to.
I think the reason that I enjoyed this audiobook so much is that each of the main characters (Aibeleen, Skeeter, and Minnie) is portrayed by a different reader. It brings the book to life and is almost like listening in on their lives.
I love this book because it is not just about civil rights, but it teaches so many other things. For me, I learned to make sure I tell my children that "You is smart, you is kind, you is important" often. I want them to remember that when others might put them down. I also learned that social lines are only there if we choose to draw those lines. Several the women in this book were willing to step out of those lines and reach out to others that would not have normally been in their circle of friends. What a great thing to remember - be accepting of others,  even if they don't look like you!. I also was reminded that we really aren't that different regardless of race, religion, or any other differences that we might perceive. We all want to be safe, loved, valued, and happy. Overall, I enjoyed this book - both as an audiobook and a regular book. I would have loved it, except that there is a part with a nude drunk man that I felt was a bit more descriptive than I thought it needed to be.  The point could have been made without the nudity or at least without being so descriptive. I loved the movie and was glad when I found out that scene was not included in the movie.

Fun and free (or cheap)

As summer winds down and school begins, we get into school mode and not play mode so much. Luckily for us, school doesn't start until after Labor Day!  I am trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer break with my kiddos.
This week I decided to focus on simple, but fun things to do. We have visited a few parks in our area, gone bowling (we get 2 free games each day for each kid during the summer), painting pictures, reading new books (thanks to the local library), and preserving food. It has all been inexpensive, simple, yet very enjoyable and quality time. That's my favorite kind of time to have!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun and Free

My spotlight for a fun and free place this week is "Treehouse Museum" in Ogden, UT. (http://www.treehousemuseum.org/visiting_treehouse.php) This is an amazing children's museum with a TON of fun things for the children to do. I took our little monkeys there last week. We spent almost 4 hours there and they weren't ready to leave. We had 1/2 price coupons so it wasn't too expensive. They are having a free day this coming Saturday (Aug. 18). (I think they have a free day each month during the summer.) I highly recommend trying this place out.

Just FYI - Next week (Aug. 19-23) is KUTV Viewer Appreciation Days at Lagoon. Mention it at the window and you will can buy one adult ticket, get one free. Unfortunately it doesn't count for children's tickets :(.
Also, Thanksgiving Point is doing their $2 Tuesdays this month. You can get in to any of their places (gardens, farm, and dinosaur museum) for just $2 on Tuesdays this month. Just be warned it is usually packed! But for $2 instead of $10/person, it is a GREAT deal!

Have a great week!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fun and Free (or cheap)

I will admit that I am a sucker for a deal or freebie. I also hate to pay for something at full price. I have been able to find lots of fun places to go with our little monkeys without paying an arm and a leg :) Sometimes it is free or sometimes it is for a discounted price. I decided that there might be other people out there that would be interested in knowing about the deals that I have found. So I am going to share with you  some of our favorite places and adventures that we have been on.  I'll start off with two fun things that we did last week. I'll try to post about one place each week. Here it goes:

1. Hill Aerospace Museum: http://www.hill.af.mil/library/museum/  (Located in Roy at North end of Hill Air Force Base.)
    This is a fun museum that has full sized air force planes and helicopters both inside and out. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. There are picnic tables outside underneath some of the huge airplanes. The monkeys and their cousins LOVED eating lunch there. They were amazed that the wheel was taller than any of them! They also enjoyed looking at the planes inside. If you have older kids, you could probably stop and read some of the info, but with my little monkeys right now, I just let them lead and will stop to read more as they get older. Another fun thing is the kid's area that they have. It is open Tuesday-Saturday. The monkeys love playing there. It has a dress up area, lego area, and lots of fun activities for the kids to do.

2. Elephant Rock Hike, Muellar Park, Bountiful UT (http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/mueller.htm
     We went on this trail last week with my friend and her two little ones. It is a great trail for younger children with a gentle climb and mostly shaded hike. The full hike is actually 3.5 miles one way, but it is nice because you can go as far as you want and then turn around. Watch out for bikers, hikers, and dogs. There is a picnic area close to the trail head that you can stop to eat lunch at, however it costs $5/person or $8/vehicle.  There is a small stream that is great for throwing rocks in or playing in for a few minutes.

I hope you enjoy trying these fun and free spots. Let me know how you how you like them and if you know of other fun and free (or cheap) activities for families!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Some fun sewing projects

One of my good friends had a baby in May. It is her first baby and I decided to make some blankets for him. I love how they turned out. I did one all cotton for the warmer months and two that are one side cotton and one side flannel for when it gets a little cooler. One is 36x36 and the other two are 40x40. I hope she like them. :)








 I also made a bag for me. I LOVE how it turned out. I have had the material for a long time (2+ years). I wanted to make me something, but I wasn't sure what I wanted. I finally found this pattern over at  fish sticks and fries.  I put pockets in the inside, but didn't move them up high enough. But I think they will still work. It is the first bag that I have made. I am going to make a cash system wallet next. 




I also decided to do an i spy quilt with the scraps that I had kicking around. My mom donated some scraps from her collection. I think I will add another row or two to make it a little wider. Once I get it a little bigger, I will put some flannel on the back and batting in the middle. I think we will use it in the basement when we need a blanket to snuggle with. It's my first pieced quilt. It was fun to figure it out  and have it come together. 



Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Time!

I think Spring is my favorite time of year. I love the warmer days and the spring showers. I may be called crazy, but I actually like the variety of weather during the spring. In the past few weeks, we have had warm (70's) days, several rainy days, and even woke up to 4 inches of snow one morning! It has been fun!
I also love getting outside and letting my kids play outside more. I love our neighborhood and hearing all of the children playing outside after school. Often there are neighborhood children that come play or my children will go to their homes. I LOVE hearing happy children laughing and playing together.
One of my favorite things about Spring are also the flowers. I love daffodils. They remind me of England and that warmer weather is on it's way. This year we even have tulips. In the past two years, the deer have eaten them before they could bloom. But this year, I put deer repellent on them. It is so nice to see them in bloom right now. I also love dandelions. I know most people view them as weeds, but I love when my children bring me them and say "Here is a flower for you, Mom." Nothing is more sweeter to me!
I also love to get out and walk as the weather warms up. I started to walk to school with our Extraordinary Boy last fall. I missed about 2 months during the winter and I missed it a lot. Now as long as the weather is nice, we walk to school. It is all down hill on the way there. Then it is all up hill on the way back! When pushing a stroller with 1 or 2 children in it, coming back is quite the workout. I may not go very fast, but man, I'm sweating by the time I get home. I started walking just to help him get in the habit and also to be able to get out and enjoy the fresh air. I had quite a bit of weight to lose and thought, "This might help me lose it." To date, I have lost 30 lbs! That has been since September. I know that I could get out a little bit more often - either to the gym or walking to school - but I have to say that I am happy for the weight I have lost. It is nice to have my pants too big in stead of too small on me :) I still have some more weight to lose and it might not come off very fast, but at least it is coming off.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Truck for a little guy

March is a busy month for us. We have two birthdays within ten days. It is also a lot of fun. For our little guy's birthday I decided to make him a stuffed truck toy. I used the tutorial at Make it Love it but made a few changes. I decided to use fleece instead and turned it into a favorite tow truck that he LOVES. I think it turned out pretty cute. I did learn to not completely stuff it if you are sewing on the extra stuff - wheels, eyes, tow rope, etc. I would partially stuff it so you get an idea of where to put the stuff and then after you have done the hand sewing, finish stuffing it.

It's not perfect, but it makes our little guy happy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Step Forward

After almost 1 year of occupational therapy, our extraordinary boy gets to take a break for a few months! In speaking with his therapist, she was impressed with how well he has done at reaching the goals we have set for him. Yesterday she suggested that we take a few months off and see how he is doing. She said to check back with her towards the end of the school year to see if we have any more concerns or anything else has popped up that he needs help with! Here are some of the things he has done in the past year :
One year ago he couldn't hold onto a trapeze bar for more than 5 seconds - he can now hold on and swing for at least 30 seconds, often longer! He was scared to be picked up by someone - now he will let us pick him up  occasionally. He self talked his way through the activities he was doing, now he can do the same activities with minimal talking.  He was not forming any of his letters correctly - now he forms all of his upper and lower case letters correctly (starting and stopping in the correct spots). He would hold his arms down to his sides as he cut paper and had a hard time cutting anything more than straight lines. He now holds the paper up to cut and LOVES to cut out different shapes.  He was afraid to try anything new and wouldn't even try something without a lot of begging and sometimes forcing. Now he will see something new and try it. Sometimes he still gets scared, but it doesn't take as much coaxing to get him to do it. He is running, jumping, and swinging with much more confidence now.
I feel so blessed that he has had such great support from his therapist, teachers, and family. I know that he still has some way to go, but he has done so well over the past year. Some days it is hard to see his progress because I'm with him all of the time. Then I look at where he was a year ago and I see how well he is doing. I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to be his mom!

A dream with yummy results!

A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream. It was early Sunday morning and I dreamed that I made some chicken for dinner that day. I woke up after the dream and knew exactly what the recipe was for the chicken I had dreamed about. I know that is really weird, I don't dream of food often and have never "dreamed" up a new recipe.
After I got up that morning, I thought "Hmmm, maybe I should make the chicken that I dreamed about." I had planned on making pancakes. So I started to throw a little bit of this and that into the crock pot. I turned it on and let it cook for 6-8 hours. To my delight and pleasure, the chicken turned out delicious! My husband liked it too. It made quite a bit, so I froze it and pulled it out for Hawaiian Haystacks tonight. I don't know that I can ever go back to using regular chicken for haystacks again :)
I told my neighbor about it and she said "Did you write it down?" I had not, but will share it with you all tonight :)  I call it

 Paradise Chicken

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts - frozen or thawed
1/2 cup coconut milk - I used the thick canned stuff
1/4 cup shredded coconut
zest from one orange
1/2 cup of fresh orange juice  - I juiced the orange and then topped it off with some good store bought juice.
1/2 cup pineapple juice - I just used the juice from the canned pineapple
1/2 can of pineapple
1/2 - 1 tsp  ground cloves
1 -1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions -  Place chicken in crock pot, pour liquid over chicken, sprinkle pineapple and seasonings over chicken and juices. Cook for 6-8 hours. Enjoy!

We served it with this coconut rice. It was so yummy - light and fresh! Mmmm! For the haystacks, I just threw it in to the sauce and warmed  it through. I served it with regular white rice & quinoa, but had sprinkled a little ground cloves and cinnamon in it. I think that helped to bring out the taste of chicken more. We will make this one again!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Special Visitor

I met Sister Wixom - General Primary President - on Christmas at Primary Children's Hospital. She invited me to call her and have her come visit our primary.  I decided to call her secretary(Becky) about 2 weeks ago. She said that she would talk to my bishop and Sister Wixom to see when would be a good time.  Becky called me last Monday (Jan. 23) to let me know that Sister Wixom would be coming yesterday (Jan. 29). I was so excited!
       Sister Wixom arrived just as we were starting Primary. She walked in and you could just feel the spirit that was with her. I introduced her to my counselors and secretary. We welcomed her and sang a song for her. After the opening prayer, song, and talk, it was time for sharing time. I taught sharing time.  It was the best sharing time that I have ever taught. It wasn't because of me, but because of the spirit that was there. I'm sure part of that was because I had prepared all week to teach, but a big part was because of Sister Wixom. It was an amazing experience!
     During Sr. Primary, Sister Wixom took a few moments and talked to the children. She told them about how we had met. She said that when I told her that I was Primary President in our ward, she felt the spirit whisper  "Ask if you can go visit that primary." It was neat for me to hear her side of the story, because I had felt that I should tell her that I was the Primary President. I know that Heavenly Father wanted her to come visit our primary.
     Sister Wixom also visited the nursery and a class for a little bit. It was so neat to see her interacting with the children and primary leaders. I felt so blessed to have her come. At the end of the meetings, we talked for a few minutes.  She thanked me for letting her come visit and I told her that she is welcome anytime that she wants to come. She also told me "If I can ever do anything for you, please call me." I thought "Wow, here is a woman who has a HUGE amount of responsibility, but yet, she is willing to help me if I ever need anything!" It was a very humbling experience. I feel so blessed to be serving as Primary President. I love the spirit that is in Primary and the sweetness of the children. I truly love each of the children. This was truly an experience that I won't forget!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jewelry Solution

I've started to wear jewelry a little bit more lately. I have needed a place to store it where I could see it and remember to wear it :) I also need someplace to put my fabric flowers that I have been making. So I came up with this.


Here it is with all of my jewelry and flowers on.

The board was given to my from a friend. I just spray painted it chocolate, glued a gold ribbon onto it, and drilled a few holes for some small cup hooks to go. It was quick and easy. The cup hooks are not strait, but with the necklaces and flowers on, you can't tell very well. I'm just glad to have some place to put them.

Principal Appreciation Day

I ended up being in charge of Principal Appreciation day at our school. I had a hard time finding ideas on the web for gifts, so I'm telling you what I did if you want something a little more personalized and unique.
First, we had each student write a note to the principal and vice principal on a little strip of paper. Then we stapled them together and made a big long chain to hang in the hallway. We started it at the Vice Principal's office and then took it down the main hall. We saved a little bit of it and put it by the principal's office as well. I liked if for a few reasons - 1. It was simple and easy to do 2. The students were able to be involved with it. 3. The principal and vice principal like it. 4. It turned out to be pretty neat. :)
Next, I asked the teachers to send me words and phrases that described the principal and vice principal. Then I created some subway art for each one and framed it so they can hang it in their offices. I loved how it turned out and how unique it was from everything I saw online. We also included a gift card to Chili's for each of them. Here is how the art turned out:


I also painted a sign that said "We Love You" with their names on it to hang up outside of the main office.
 Overall, I feel good about what we did. I was grateful for the people that helped me staple and hang the chain. It was nice that I didn't have to do it all by myself. :) I'm grateful for our principal and vice principal. They are wonderful women and leaders. I'm glad I could let them know how much they are appreciated.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fun Baby Gift

I saw this somewhere and had to make one for my new little niece last spring. I framed it and it turned out so cute that I had to share. I don't have a picture of it in the frame, but will be doing another one soon and will take a picture then. Also I have changed the info so it is generic. So fun and so easy to make. Thought you would like to see it.
I also did a family one for weddings and such. I loved it too!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Some fun crafts

Here are some fun things that I have been working on. I have found that I like to find fun things to make and then change them a little to fit my family.
The first one is a Valentine's Day Countdown Calendar. I made two of these, one my my hubby and one for my kiddos. I found the idea here, but made up my own notes for each child and my hubby. It is a fun way to focus on what I love about my husband and family.

These are some blocks that I made for my neighbors grandchildren. They are so fun and super easy. I put a couple of bells in each one so that it will jingle. It's pretty easy to make. Here is a tutorial.
 This doesn't look as cute with the pictures blotted out. But just imagine black and white pictures of your family on each circle. It really is fun and cute. I can't remember where I found this idea at. Here's how you make it: Buy a Styrofoam wreath and some think wire ribbon. Wrap the ribbon around the wreath. Hot glue it in place. Make a bow and hot glue it in place. Cut circles out of pattern paper of your choice. Print off pictures and cut them into circles slightly smaller than the paper circles. Glue or tape the pictures to the paper and the paper to the wreath. I taped mine so that I can update the pictures each year. It's simple but fun!

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