Wednesday, April 20, 2011

May Visiting Teaching Message

For May's Visiting Teaching Message, I pulled a few of my favorite quotes from General Conference {including the Parable of the Purse!} and put them together with a conference thoughts page and my carrot cheesecake recipe, with the title "Chews" to study the Conference Messages and some gum.

For the link to this file, click here.

For all of you Lake Mountain 3rd Ward Sisters, we will have kits available for you to put together for your sisters at Relief Society, this Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.

Happy Visiting Teaching!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Still Recovering...

from an awesome thrift store trip today!

I've been trying to be better at the thrift store.

I generally don't buy things just because they are a great deal--I have to truly love them or have a need for them.

Sometimes, the thrift store is a bust... it wasn't!

There were shoes!  GOOD shoes--not tired, granny shoes--beautiful, fun shoes! { I must be on some kind of animal print metallic kick....ha! kick! Get it?}

There were craft supplies!  {a scrapbook, 3 canvases and glitter--all new and unopened!}
Two early-edition Ernest Hemingway books {with that awesome old-book smell and uneven page edges!}  And a nutcracker!  {we collect nutcrackers--even the sad looking ones.  They look great grouped together at Christmas time--the kids have names for some of them; the one with the cold, the "get off my grass!" one, the general, the king, etc.}

A very cute bag!  {Perfect for church--large with lots of pockets! p.s. it's cuter in real life than in the picture...}

And this gem...

...from the moment I laid eyes on him, I had to have it! 
Do I know this guy?
Do I love his kind smile and happy eyes? {even though his eyebrows are a little creepy...} 

{The kids have already named him Uncle Ed.}

Monday, April 18, 2011


It has been raining non-stop today here, so of course that means

We are having

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Saute in pot:
3 tbsp oil
1 finely minced red onion
2 minced garlic cloves

Add to pot:
4 oz. chopped chilies
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp chili powder
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup beef broth

Cook all for 15 minutes

Mix 4 tbsp flour and 1/2 cup water and whisk inot soup.  Add 1 1/2 lbs. shredded chicken and simmer for 5 minutes Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with tortilla strips and chunked avacadoes.

And I also thought I would share what was left of the carrot cheesecake we tried yesterday.

Carrot Cheesecake

1 pkg. carrot cake mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup cooking oil
6 eggs
1/2 cup raisins
24 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F and grease and flour 10 inch springform pan; set aside.  Combine carrot cake mix, 1 cup water, oil, and 3 of the eggs.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Fold in raisens, and pour into pan.

In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in granulated sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in remaining 3 eggs just until combined.  Slowly pour over carrot cake layer {note: I poured all of the cheesecake batter onto the carrot cake layer and it baked out over the sides of the pan.  Next time, I think I will only pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the cheesecake batter onto the carrot cake batter.} Place cheesecake on baking sheet.

Bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until center is set {top will be uneven and center may fall slightly as it cools}.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Using a small sharp knife, loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.  Cool 30 minutes.  Remove sides of pan; cool completely, and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

What's for dinner at your house tonight?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Photo Shoot

It's spring break at our house this week, so we have been trying to catch up on a few things on our to-do list.
The most current pictures I have hanging on my wall of my kids are 2 years old.


It is not an easy task to get 5 children to behave during a "photo shoot"...

Where's the 5th child, you ask? 

She's all over the place.

She won't ever hold still long enough for me to get a good portrait-type picture of her.  Ahh, Bella.

In the end, I think we got a few usable shots...

I'll probably mess with them a little on picasa or photoshop a bit before making prints.

Here is my favorite from the day:

{Nice.  Bella finally looked at the camera.}

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's been a week...or eight...

So, uh, remember my pledge to clean my office in a week {eight weeks ago}? 

I finally got to it yesterday.  I'm not completely finished yet, but it had gotten exponetially worse the past few weeks and it was time.

Here's how it looked yesterday before I started.


I'm embarrassed to say that it took me most of the day, but here's how it ended up:

Wow.  Look at that.  I had forgotton what color my desk was underneath all of that stuff....

This is a picture of me and my sisters when we were younger.  My mom made all three dresses. 
 I finally have room to display it.

...and a few other things...

De-junking my house has made me realize that we have waaaaaaay too much stuff.

I always thought it was weird when people said that they spent their first 30 years buying and collecting stuff and the next 30 years trying to get rid of all that stuff.

It's totally true, though.

I want to surround myself with people and stuff that I love and that reminds me of happy times in my life.

It feels so nice to have the office mostly clean.

To quote my two-year-old: "Ohhhhhhh yeaaaaaaahhhh!"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bed Dilemma

Time for a bedroom change downstairs. 

The clock is ticking until the moment my two-year-old daughter decides that her crib is uncool and bails. 

So the plan is to replace the queen-sized bed that my ten-year-old is currently sleeping in with two twin-sized beds.  I had been looking for some interesting, fun headboards {old doors, maybe something upholstered, etc.} that I could pick up for free cheap when I stumbled upon these photos here:

By Lindsey Smith on Design Sponge

The Gustavian Bed by Remodelista

I began to obsess.
I had to try to make this bed!
So I started gathering wood.
I had a bit left over from my movie shelf makeover a few weeks ago, and because we are apparently borderline hoarders, I found more in the garage, more in the "woodpile" and then picked up a few more at a thriftstore.

For $4!

It was cold outside, so naturally, I gathered all of my supplies in the family room and measured and screwed boards on the back to hold them together.

I need two headboards, hence the two seperate groupings of boards.  They are each just over 40" wide.

Now, you have to forgive me here.  I forgot to take pictures of me drawing the template on the boards, braving the cold, and going outside to cut the tops with my jigsaw.  Sorry.

But this is what I ended up with:

They aren't done yet, but I couldn't wait to show you! 
There will be painting, sanding and staining involved in the final product.

Don't worry, I'll make sure to post pictures when they are done. :)

Hopefully, the weather will be good so that I can finish them soon.

And get them out of the family room.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's for Dinner?

I'm always on the lookout for new dinner ideas.

These are some of our recent dinners:

Sausage Shish Kabobs

Turkey & Apple Salad

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Malibu Chicken Sandwiches

I love grilling and can't wait to try some new recipes...anyone want to share?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Burlap Love

I don't know what it is, but lately, I really love burlap

I've seen some really cute wreaths, pillows, chairs and framed products made with burlap...

I've been wanting to put this pillow together for awhile now, but just took the time this morning.

I can't decide if I want to put it in the living room...

on my bed...

or outside...

Which do you think?

I'm linking this burlap project up to Funky Junk's Saturday Night Special, Burlap Edition.
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