Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why I'm awesome Wednesday

*Hi!  I'm here.  I've decided to take it easy blog-wise for the rest of the summer.  I'll post here and there, but with so much going on and a big trip home to prepare for, I'm not going to add "blog" to my list of things to stress about.  So...don't give up on me.  I'll get back into a regular groove once I'm back from my trip.  Three for Thursday will also be back in the fall...prepare yourselves!*

I can anticipate when a kid in church is going to make a break for it and try to escape.  I can catch the kid as they take their first steps to run.

I make a really good meatloaf.

I can type really fast and I can use that skill to provide for my family.

I have 11 toenails.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'll be back


I am going to take a break from blogging this week, but I will be back next week.

Thanks for understanding.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mister!

My husband.  He's awesome.  He is a student and works really, really hard.  I'm so proud of him and soooooo in love with him.

He had a birthday recently and I really wanted to give him something special.  I want him to always know how much I love him.  I am trying to decorate our bedroom with the theme of love, so my idea was to make something to hang on the wall in our room.

First, I took an 11 x 13 canvas and painted it with an ecru paint.
See, I put a white paper next to it so you could see the difference in color.  =)

Next, I pulled out my trusty Cricut and cut out the word "forever" from a strip of contact paper.
Once the base coat of paint had dried, I peeled off the back of the paper and stuck the word (now something of a reverse stencil) on the canvas.

Then I painted the canvas in graduated blues.  I tried to just let my creativity flow when it came to painting the canvas.  I didn't really have anything planned, but I like how it turned out.  

Once the blues had dried, I peeled up the contact paper.  Then I forgot to take a picture of the end result.  (Seriously, I set the picture up and then walked away to help my kids with something.  I completely forgot what I was doing!  sorry.)

But, I did get a picture of the end result.  

For the "I love you" I watered down some glue, colored it with a smidge of yellow paint, and dipped yarn in that.  I spelled out the letters with the yarn (which was actually much messier than I anticipated!).  I sprayed the whole thing with a sealant to finish it up.

Here's the end product:

In between all the drying times, I put together a set of 12 dates, one for each month.  

Each is presented with a little poem (kind of), a title to give him some sort of clue as to what we'll be doing, and a list of supplies for me.  All he has to do is pick a day each month and we have a date all set up.

Because he is so busy, all of these dates are stay-at-home dates, but I'm really excited about them.  I'll definitely be sharing our plans with you!

Next was his "cake."

To say he is a lover of Oreos is a gross understatement.  The man can eat a package of Oreos in about 20 minutes!  It's a sight to see.  

I had seen this idea on Pinterest (let me know if you want an invite, I've got 4 or 5 I can send out) and I knew it would be perfect for him.  

The original uses about 20 packages of Oreos, I only used 3, so mine isn't as impressive...
...but it served its purpose just the same!

O was careful to add her own "cakes" to the top, because she loves her Daddy.

It was a good day.  Isn't he handsome?
I love you, Mister!

I'm linking this project up to these parties.
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Friday, July 8, 2011

How to host a fruit fly party

Do you have a problem with fruit flies in the summer?

I do.  They are all over and they drive me ca-ra-zy!

I can't remember where I first saw the idea (I'm thinking it was on The Idea Room somewhere, but I couldn't for the life of me find it).  Get an old jar (cleaned out), put some fruit in it, and roll a piece of paper into a funnel. (I'm sure you could use a real funnel too.  I'll have to try that.)  Place the paper in the jar and watch the flies come flocking to the party!  For some reason, they can get in, but not out.  Silly bugs.

That doesn't sound too hard, right?  So, I decided to try.

Then, Mister came home and was super impressed with the idea, but wanted to experiment with it a bit.  I had an apple in mine, he used a banana and some canned fruit.  He also used a shorter tube.

We set out both jars in the same place to see who threw the best fruit fly party.

It's kind of hard to see in this picture (because they are so itty bitty!) but there are hundreds of flies in this jar.

My jar has maybe 20 flies in it.  

Now we know.  They like bananas (they rot faster) and fruit cocktail and the shorter the journey to the party, the better.  Also, we've learned that it can be productive to let the husband build on our ideas.  =)

P.S.  I read recently that it works to put plastic wrap on top of the jar, secured with a rubber band, with holes poked in the plastic wrap.  Maybe we'll try both and see who wins that party.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three for Thursday

Alright!  I'm enough back in the swing of things that I am joining up with Three for Thursday again.  Evelyn is hosting this week.  And, I'm thrilled to announce that she has asked me, along with Katy over at The House of Estrogen, to co-host!  Yay!  So, watch for the prompt with me next week and play along if you are so inclined!

Three confessions:
1.  I know I need more sleep, but I can't seem to get myself to go to sleep until way too late (it's so late I can't even bring myself to write it!  I will say I haven't been going to sleep until about 2 hours after I finish working at night and I work until 11:30 almost every night).
2.  I'm addicted to the TV show Monk.  I've discovered it on Netflix and can't seem to get enough.  What am I going to watch when I've completed the whole series?
3.  I love to do Pilates...but I also love to eat cookies.  They don't seem to be working together as I would have hoped.

Three things I do to beat the heat:
1.  Turn up the AC.
2.  Stay inside during the hottest part of the day.
3.  Play outside with my girls and the hose.

Three lessons, skills, or new tricks I have learned this past month:
1.  I'm learning how to stop worrying so much about keeping my house super clean and more about keeping my kids happy and myself sane.
2.  Once again in my life, I am learning the importance and power of sincere and earnest prayer.

3.  O is teaching my how to be a princess and that if I spend a few minutes every day making myself feel like a princess it really makes a difference on the whole day.

Three things that motivate me to be a better person:
1.  My girls.
2.  My husband.
3.  The scriptures.

Three things I would do if I wasn’t “Mommy”, married, and burdened with cares:
1.  I would be in as many plays as I could manage.
2.  I would try to get a spot in a choir, maybe some type of show choir or maybe even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  That would be amazing!
3.  Travel, travel, travel.

Three people I call first:
1.  My mom.
2.  My sisters.
3.  My husband.

Three things I changed about my parenting after testing them out on my guinea pig child (first child):
1.  Routines are important, but don't need to be absolute.  It's ok to be flexible.
2.  My multitasking skills have increased immensely.  I seem to be getting a lot more done with two than I did with one.
3.  I wasn't very uptight when I first became a mother--at least I didn't think I was--but I am much more relaxed about things now.  Not that I'm perfectly calm and collected now, but it's a skill I'm definitely developing.

Three things that make me cry:
1.  Being tired.
2.  Being angry.

3.  Being happy.  
(I cry a lot.  Can you tell?)

Three things I’m going to accomplish before the summer is over:
1.  I'm making another quiet book/activity book for my girls.  I'm starting today.
2.  I'm going home for a nice vacation.
3.  I'm going to see the last Harry Potter at least twice.

Three pictures:

Speaking of beating the heat, we have a little mat that hooks up to the hose and sprays water.  I had hooked that up for the girls to play with, but when the Mister saw it, he brought out two big sheets of plastic, put the mat at one end and rigged the other end to form a little pool.  We had a perfect slip and slide (on a tiny hill in our front yard) with a pool at the end.  All four of us played for the afternoon and had a blast!

Um, hello big blue eyes and amazing curls!  

O managed to slide into L nearly every time!  L took the fall each time and, characteristic of her, she would just get up and keep walking back up to the top of the slide.  

She's just getting so big and more and more beautiful every day.  

Head over to Hanging by a Silver Lining to link up this week!

P.S.  Have I mentioned that there are prizes involved for linking up?  Hmmm...just a thought!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why I'm awesome Wednesday

You know, some days (or some weeks, months, years) are just a little rough.  It is easy to get stuck in a slump.  Day in, day out, life gets a little tedious.  I start to feel overwhelmed, and my soul starts to gets weary.  Then things start to happen to my self-esteem.  I begin to doubt myself and what I'm doing as a wife and a mother.

No good.

So, here's what I'm going to do.  I have to remind myself why I'm awesome.  Maybe once a week, maybe less, maybe more.  Who knows.

Today, I'm awesome because once I start cleaning...really cleaning...I do it quickly and efficiently.  I can do it with two toddlers helping me!  I clean, disinfect, vacuum, and make lunch while singing and dancing a little, keeping my kids happy, and all within 2 hours leaving time for my projects.

What makes you awesome?

Easy Breadsticks or Easy Cinnamon Twists

I love, love, love this recipe.  It really is easy and it's fairly quick, as far as bread goes.  And, finally, I think I have it just about right.  At least, right enough to share. we go...

Please note, if you are looking at the pictures and find yourself thinking, "Hmmm, that looks like she used too much!" it's ok.  You can lay your worries aside.  I was doubling the recipe so that I could show the 2 variations on the recipe.

Start the party with 1 Tablespoon of Yeast and 1 Tablespoon of sugar.

I wonder if the sugar knows it is there to be eaten?  Hmmm...

Add to that 1 1/2 cups of warm water.
Let that sit for a few minutes until the bubbles start to form.  That's the party starting!

Add 3 cups of flour (you may need a little more...if it is too sticky, add more) and 1 tsp of salt.  
I misread the recipe (and didn't realize it until this very moment) and threw in 1/2 cup (1 stick) of soft butter to the mix.  Oops!  

But, this batch turned out to be my best yet, so...from now on I'm sticking with that.  You don't have to if you don't want to though.  (I'll put the correct recipe at the bottom of this post, by the way.)

Mix all of that together until it forms a soft dough.  Then, knead it like crazy.  

If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, then just let the dough hook do its thing.

It should look like this (I took this picture while the dough hook was spinning!  Well, I thought it was exciting.)
If you don't have a stand mixer, then knead it by hand.  That's ok too.  It just takes a little longer. 

I read once, or someone told me once, that dough has been kneaded enough when you can poke two fingers into it and the indents stay.

Like this.
I'm glad no one has to poke me to see if I'm kneaded enough.  

Sorry, friends.  I'm tired and when I'm tired the corny jokes and puns pop out.  It's part of who I am and I've learned to live with it.

Now, this part isn't in the recipe, but I have found that the breadsticks turn out better if they are given more time to rise.  Set the dough to rise for about 15 to 20 minutes, enough that the indents disappear.  I turn my oven on and set the metal bowl on the stove top.  The warm bowl and the warm oven make for good rising.


Now that it has risen, take 1/2 a cup of butter (see, I should have waited and used it here instead of throwing it in the mixer.  But, no was a happy mistake) and put it on a cookie sheet.
I always cover my pans with's easier to clean up.

Put the pan and the butter in a 350 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes...until it is melted.

Then, take it out and sprinkle a good amount of garlic salt or powder over the melted butter.

Take your dough, punch it down and put it on a floured surface.  Roll it flat (about 1/2 inch thick).  
I have no idea why this rolled out in such a funny shape.  It looks like it has some kind of weird growth.  At least it still tastes good!

Get a pizza cutter (it works waaaaaay better than a knife) and cut the dough into breadstick-size sections.

Now, take each section and stretch it out a little (the dough is super soft and stretchy, so it should do that pretty easily as you pick it up), fold it in half and twist it.  Roll each twist in the butter.
Once you have all the pieces rolled, sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese (if you so choose) and let them rise again for about 10 to 15 minutes.  

Pop them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Pull them out and enjoy some fantastic, soft, and delicious breadsticks!
Um, don't forget about them like I did, though.  They still taste good, but they aren't as good when they are overcooked.  Word to the wise.


If you are more in the mood for cinnamon twists, make the same dough, let it rise the same, and melt the butter on the pan the same.  BUT, don't put garlic powder on the butter.

When you roll out the dough, before you cut it, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar.  
Cut it, fold it, and twist it just the same as you did the breadsticks.  Roll them in the butter and bake 'em up.

I didn't forget about these ones!  (I have my priorities straight.)

If you are so inclined, mix some powdered sugar and milk and vanilla together (for the right proportions, check  I kind of just wing it.) and drizzle it over the top while they're still warm.


Easy Breadsticks

1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted. 
Garlic salt or powder
Parmesan cheese

Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water.  Add flour and salt.  Mix all ingredients together.  Knead for 8 minutes.

Pour melted butter evenly over a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt or powder.  Roll dough out 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into 1/2- to 1-inch thick strips.  Roll strips in butter.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Let rise 10 to 15 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Check my Linky Party page to see where I'm linking up!  
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hoo Are You #46


1.  How did you spend the 4th of July?

Well, we were going to go to a movie and then drive somewhere for a picnic and fireworks show (our town had their celebration on Saturday and I had to work).  But, the Mister came home on Friday and informed me that our car was broken.  It can be fixed but we had to order the part and it won't be here until today (Tuesday) or Wednesday.  So...we stayed home.  We had a picnic on our front lawn.  It rained a lot so we took a tarp and laid it over our heads (Mister and I were the tent posts!) while we ate and giggled.  Mister took his truck and bought us some fireworks, so we stayed up late and set off our own fireworks.  The girls were thrilled!  O thought they were so pretty that she called them Princess fireworks.  You know that is seriuos.

2.  What were a couple of favorite things you ate for the 4th of July?

Fried chicken....mmmmmmm!  
Soft caramel popcorn.  

3.  Did you watch fireworks?

Just the princess fireworks we set off in front of our house.  Nothing big this year.

4.  What is your favorite firework?

Well, I have always been a lover of sparklers.  But, I think my favorite this year was what we named the Cupcake fireworks.  They looked like little fireworks.  Once they were lit, they spun in a few circles and then took off into the air...way up in the air...with a little *zing* sound.  It was thrilling!

5.  How hot was it where you were for the 4th?

Hmmm...I didn't really check the thermometer, but I would guess in the mid-80s.  And it was super humid because it was a little stormy.

Head over to Night Owl Crafting to play along!

P.S.  I am also participating in {Ginger Snaps} Tiggerific Tuesday blog hop.  Click the button below to join up and make some friends!

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

My secret language or a peek at one of my little quirks.

Do you remember those days in high school when you always had a crush on some cute boy...or you were frustrated with a friend...the days when you were filled with all kinds of ambitions and secret dreams?

Sometimes there were things you just had to tell someone, but when your best friend or your sisters or your mom weren't available (or maybe didn't understand), what could be done?  For me, I had to write it down.  Who better to tell than yourself, right?  I was pretty good at keeping my own secrets.

I still have lots of notebooks filled with my thoughts and hopes and loves.  But, here's the thing...those notes look something like this:

W oy ea wb xajs iwht Ywqtosx htoh W ywuth tojs ha zwee twe roqs ajsf obn ajsf ouowb.

Yeah, I was also a little paranoid.

You see, I had this thought that someone might notice me writing and would sneak up behind me to read what I was writing.  I didn't want just anyone to know who I was in love with and all the yearnings of my heart, so I made up a code.  Because, that doesn't look odd at all.

Seriously, I knew this code so well that I could write it, in cursive, as smoothly as I wrote in English.  I could also read it.

It became my own little language.  A place where I could go and feel safe and sort out my thoughts.  And, now that I think of it, I think it is pretty cool that I was able to create such a good place for myself.

It did become a little silly, though.  Like when I needed to go to the store to get...ahem...feminine products.  I was too embarrassed to write the actual word down on my list.  I just wrote "DOPE" instead...because that looks much better on a shopping list.  (heehee! If I write "dope" here, no one will notice that I'm buying maxi pads!)

You'll notice I'm not giving you the key to my code.  I have far too many notebooks filled with my teenage (and maybe not-so-teenage) secrets to let the key out now.  Besides...I may or may not be using it still.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Not me.

Head over to my friend's blog, Mrs. Sassy Crafter!  She has just reached 300 followers and is giving away a mystery box.  Good luck!
Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Fruits of My Ambition

Remember the before?


I fixed it.

I managed to pull that old cover apart, carefully label it, trace it, cut the pieces out of new (much improved) fabric, and put it all back together again!

The putting it back together again was fairly simple, although I hit a bit of a snag when trying to put the bottom back on.

But, after much worrying and fretting, I decided to just deal with it. I sewed it together, ignoring the parts that aren't as pretty as the rest, and continued to be proud of myself.

The most important thing is, the girls love it.

And they love each other.

Um, just on a side note, do you see that white thing in O's hair? It's a strip of Velcro. She calls it her headbandie.

I think it is the start of a new, totally hip fashion craze. Be prepared!

I used a piece of fleece for them to lay on when the couch folds out to a bed.

It's soft and cuddly.

See, she's sleeping.

(Not really)

She doesn't like to sleep, so why would she even pretend to? But she'll lay on the soft fleece!

I know some of you are hoping for a tutorial. I thought about making one as I went along, but then decided against it. I thought maybe I should figure out what I was doing before I showed other people the way. Besides, I couldn't remember to take pictures along the way.

I would like to do another one, to perfect it a bit (ahem...a lot) more. If I do, I'll make a tutorial with that one.

In the meantime, I would just like to throw out the challenge to you. If you have the opportunity to do a project that you're not sure you can handle, then jump in and do it. It's kind of fun! And super rewarding. And, toddlers are very accepting of new toys, even if they aren't sewn perfectly.
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I'm linking up with my regulars.