Monday, February 23, 2015

mmmonday! {French Toast with Easy Butter Syrup}

Guys.  If you are looking for a quick and easy, yet kind of fancy and super delicious breakfast, you have got to try this.

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Make French Toast.  This is the recipe that I use, but any will do.

Recipe-French Toast copy

Make the syrup.  This syrup is seriously so easy and it’s delicious.

Recipe-Butter Syrup copy

Top with fresh fruit and a bit of cream and you have got an amazing and pretty meal!

Have a fabulous Monday!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

So. Many. Blank. Walls!

One thing about this house that we loved when we first saw it was the open space and natural light.  I still love those things, but didn’t realize that what comes with that awesomeness is LOTS of blank wall space.

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20150129_082219[1]So I’ve started to try to fill it a little.

Last fall, I played with paint and stripes.

A few weekends back, we tackled another wall.  This time with some ledge shelves.

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The shelves came as a bonus when my husband and I purchased a bed frame off of a local online yard sale site.  The bed frame had been in a shed for a couple of years and came complete with dust and spider webs…and two extra boards that the seller’s son thought were part of it.  He didn’t want them even if they weren’t part of the bed, so we took them just in case.  Turns out, they were not part of the bed frame, but they were kind of cool looking, so I talked my husband into keeping them and more recently, hanging them for me as picture shelves.

20150201_105802[1]I think they are awesome, and they help me feel like I am making some progress towards filling some of my empty walls.

The best part?  I can easily swap out the photos and knick knacks when I want.

I welcome any and all ideas on what else to do with my blank walls.  What would you do?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February Visiting Teaching—The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Without Sin

The Visiting Teaching Message from the Ensign this month reminds us that the Savior is the only person who will ever live on the earth without sinning.  Although each of us make mistakes and stumble, because He Atoned for our sins, we can be clean again and have our sins washed away if we repent.

20150205_145331[1]20150205_150507[1]For my sisters this month, I bought some dish soap at the dollar store and a dish washing brush from IKEA. 

20150205_084611[1] I printed the message on double-sided cardstock {there are 2 per page} and the tags {there are 8 per page} on coordinating paper.

I trimmed the tags to fit on the front of my dish soap, and then washi-taped them on.

20150205_150856[1]20150205_145342[1]Next, I used a ribbon to secure the brush to the soap, and then slid the folded message into the ribbon on the back. {If you do it in that order it works best, because then it makes everything tight and the brush doesn’t wiggle around}.

20150205_150958[1]I’m so thankful for the Atonement and for the hope that it gives me.  I know that the Savior lives, and that He loves each of us more than we know.  I know that there will come a day that I will see Him again someday, and I hope that I can try my hardest to do what is right, and to repent each day so that I can be clean when I do.

Have a great month! 

Happy Visiting Teaching!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Flowers, a Man Named Vicente, and a REALLY Hot Oven

Almost two years ago, my awesome, thoughtful husband gave me a Christmas gift.  It was a gift certificate to make some glass flowers at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah .  Honestly, I was a little skeptical.  I love making things with my hands as much as the next girl, but it was something new, and I’m not really a tchotchke kind of girl.  So I put off going to do it for a few weeks, and then I ended up with a job that has taken most of my extra time and energy ever since.

I felt guilty about not using the certificate, and had almost forgotten about it completely, when I found it a few days ago.  The certificate had long-since expired, but I called Thanksgiving Point anyway and they agreed that I could still come in and use it.  So I made an appointment.

I arrived and they assigned Vicente to teach me what to do.  He was super patient with me as I explained to him that I was a blogger, and this was really cool, and I would be taking lots of pictures.  He was actually a little excited by this news and he offered to take my picture during the process. 

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Vicente explained that I should stand behind the line and watch the process first.  So I watched as he took a long metal rod and stuck it into a burning hot furnace of molten glass.  He told me that they kept the furnace at 2100 degrees, to make the glass workable.

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Vicente then brought the super hot glass ball on the end of the metal rod over to the workbench near me and showed me what to do to shape the glass and then used a giant pair of tweezers to pull the edges of the glass until it formed a glass flower.

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After the demonstration, I chose the colors I wanted my glass flowers to be, and put on my gloves.  The trick to keeping the really hot liquid glass on the rod was to keep it spinning, which was harder than it sounds because it’s super hot where you are standing.

After getting the right size of glass ball,  you take it and roll it into the color pieces on a metal table, and then heat it up again so that it melts, and then roll it again on a clean metal surface.

Then it’s time to shape it into a flower.  Using the large tweezer tool, I pulled little petals as Vicente turned the rod.  (Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures of this—and it was the coolest part!  You turn the ball, pulling on it till it is shaped like a plate, and then turn and pull with the giant tweezers over and over again.)  The glass got harder and harder to pull as he turned and by the third round, I had to use two hands to pull the glass. 

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IMG_1806I chose to make flowers that stand up, so that I could place them on a table.  To finish, Vicente and his other helper formed the stem of the flower and cut the glass.  They welded then end to round it off, and then placed it in a large cooling box for about 24 hours.

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I ended up making two flowers and love how they turned out.  I hadn’t really thought about what colors I wanted to use before going in, so I ended up going with different shades of blue, based on some rooms that I am decorating right now.

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IMG_1894After I got home, I second-guessed myself because, really, blue flowers?  When I picked them up a few days later, I was happy with how they looked, but it wasn’t until I got home and was showing them to my kids that I realized that they look like water. 

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Apparently, this landlocked girl needs to go to the beach, because my flowers look like waves.

P.S.  For those of you in the area, I noticed that there is a Groupon right now for Glass Flowers at Thanksgiving Point, so if you would like to try this, now’s your chance!

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Potted Plant Confessional

I need potted plants in January.  After taking down my Christmas decorations, my house seems so dull and lifeless—I just need something green and living. 

I’m not great with plants. 

In fact, I’m a potted plant serial killer.

But I’ve been trying to be better and have had some success with a few {non-plastic} varieties.

20150122_113050[1]Now, I don’t know the names of all of these plants, so if anyone out there has a greener thumb than me wants to chime in, that’d be great.  I try to steer away from plants that like a lot of attention.  Things like water and dusting must be optional to my plants.

20150122_113116[1]I found this next one after a trip to Puerto Rico.  I know it’s a tropical plant, but folks, it was growing out of the sidewalk.  That’s a tough plant.  When I came across it at the store when I got home, I decided to give it a try.  It has survived a long time {for me} with little to no attention and *ahem* infrequent waterings. 

20150122_113149[1]It also has spread quite a bit.  In fact, about six months ago I gave a piece of it to one of my friends, and it survived the separation.  Win.  This is what it is called:

20150122_113440[1]Here’s another pretty tough plant.

20150122_113506[1]I had one of these just after I was married and neglected it for a good 6 months to a year before it died.  If you take care of this variety, it spreads and gets long vines.  My sister-in-law had one once that spread the distance of an entire wall in her family room.

20150122_113624[1]This is a newer one to my collection, but seems to be fairly hearty.  It went for a long time in a too-small pot, but managed to grow and has recently had it’s six-month birthday.  Quite an accomplishment at my house.

20150122_113650[1]My husband has an orange tree.  Citrus is a little fussier, so I’m not responsible for this one.  But it’s pretty nonetheless.

20150122_113710[1]The grand champion at our house, though is this little aloe vera plant.  It has survived about 15 years and I don’t think it has been watered more than 20 times.  For a while, it was in the bathroom, so maybe the steam was enough for it.  It’s a little scraggley, but alive.

What are your houseplant secrets?  Now that my plants are living long enough to get dusty, I could use some tips on how to clean them…pfft….who am I kidding?!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January Visiting Teaching Message—The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Obedient Son

This month’s lesson is centered on obedience.  It reads:

“Following Jesus Christ’s example of obedience increases our faith in Him.

Our Spiritual growth takes place as we draw close to God through obedience and invite the power of the Savior’s Atonement into our lives.”

20150122_102537[1] I also love the thought by Elder D. Todd Christofferson that says

“As we walk in obedience to the principles and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we enjoy a continual flow of blessings promised by God in His covenant with us.  Those blessings provide the resources we need to act rather than simply be acted upon as we go through life…Obedience gives us greater control over our lives, greater capacity to come and go, to work and create.”

The idea that obeying gives us more freedom seems like a paradox, but the reality is that our Heavenly Father knows us.  He knows our needs, and our personalities.  He has a plan for us that’s better than anything we can do on our own, and if we will just obey Him and draw close to Him, we can become more like Him and do great things.

20150122_102428[1]For the Visiting Teaching message this month, I printed the message on some cute cardstock {there are two per page} and made a little envelope for it by folding some paper and stapling it.  I printed the little tag, and taped it to the front of the envelope and then glued a stick to the envelope and stuck it into a little potted plant.

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Happy Visiting Teaching!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Front Porch Project

Ever since we moved into this house two years ago, I’ve wanted to do something with the posts on our front porch.  They were a really rough cedar and they were faded and didn’t seem to really go with the house.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to stain them darker or paint them white with some molding on the top and the bottom. 

IMG_1820[1] IMG_2279[1]IMG_1825[1]In the end, we decided that we wanted to paint them.  My awesome husband cut some trim and my kids helped out by sanding, and sanding, and sanding.  There were some cracks that needed to be filled, so we used a caulk-type filler for the larger cracks, and then added the trim and painted.

IMG_2274[1]IMG_2272[1]IMG_2376[1]It was not a quick weekend project—in fact, it took much longer to complete than I thought it would—but I love the way it turned out.  

IMG_2406[1]IMG_2403[1] IMG_2408[1] IMG_2378[1] And one more time, because it is so fun--

Before:IMG_2279[1]

and After:

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