Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Post 12

I bet you didn't think I'd make it, huh?  I'm not really good at finishing large projects....especially ones that require large chunks of time, but I did it!  Whoo-hoo!  So, without further ado, here is my final "favorites" post of the year.

My favorite news story of the year? 

In honor of the Christmas season I picked out the Christmas version of this story.

If you've been living under a rock and haven't seen the news story that this spoofs, here you go:

My favorite blog post:
Usually I link up to a friends blog post as my favorite.  This year I have to forgo that for my favorite Facebook status update....I can't get it out of my head, I laugh daily thinking of it.

One of my friends posted this quote from the show "New Adventures of Old Christine:"

"I used to get turned on by the touch of a man. Now I get turned on by a sale at Target."

I'm just going to leave it at's kind of borderline appropriate as it is.

My favorite youtube video:

And maybe, just maybe, it's my favorite because I'm from the south and LOVE Waffle House.

My favorite Madison moment?

My favorite Hunter moment?

My favorite Presley moment?

My favorite Ryan moment

My favorite me moment?

12 Days of Christmas: Post 11

That's right, post 11 belongs to our little Missy-May, Presley Anne.  She is so sweet and happy all the time, she has been such a fun addition to our little family.

She has learned to say "Mama" and "Dada."  She, of course, said "Dada" first, but only a few days later she moved on to "Mama," which makes me so happy.  She mostly just babbles right now, but when she is in her crib and wants out she does cry "Mama."

Everything still goes in her mouth....this stage is rough because I have soooo much tile and even if I vacuum it twice a day there is always a crumb or rock to put in her mouth.  She hasn't started solids yet, except for the little melty crackers, because I HATE solids for babies.  She is doing just fine on bottles, growing like a weed and chunky as ever.  I'll start her some time early next year.  I think Madison was about 14 months when she went to solids and Hunter was about 9 months, so she's right on schedule for my kids.

She started crawling, which does not make me too excited.  It's so filthy and my kids get into EVERYTHING once they get mobile.  It's a pretty recent development so I'm still training myself to remember that she can move around, so now I have to keep my bedroom door closed when she's upstairs (she likes the stairs and I'm afraid she'll roll down them.)

She loves to explore and look, touch, taste everything in her path.  She is so curious about her surroundings.  She's not a very fast crawler, but she is steady.  She can get from one spot to another without me realizing she moved at all.  She hasn't learned to follow me around yet, she'll crawl to an interesting something-or-other, but when I leave she sits back and cries for me to come get her.

She has become really attached to me (I think it's just that stage of development) but she wants to be held ALL.  THE.  TIME.  My arms ache constantly and I have a hard time getting anything accomplished when she is awake.  I don't remember my other two being this clingy.  Once she is picked up she is the happiest baby ever, and she'll put her head on my shoulders and snuggle for a minute.  Oh, how I love her snuggles.

She finally got her first tooth in the last week or two.  It has barely come through, so I can't even get a picture of it yet! I love the gummy smile that babies have, not that I don't think teeth are cute, but the biting is not!  I'm so grateful for the Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets, oh my goodness, I don't know what I would do without them!  She has had the roughest time getting her teeth out and I'm not really fond of giving my babies under a year old Tylenol.

She is still an amazing sleeper.  At bedtime we feed her a bottle, lay her down, put her blankie over her and she does a half cry as she lay's her head down, and then she is out.  It is wonderful!  She still doesn't sleep through the night every night, but she only wakes up once, eats and goes right back to sleep, so I don't really complain.  She won't sleep in her carseat (she never really has liked it) but give her a bed and she is OUT.

We're so glad she came to our family.  She definitely tops the list of my "favorites" for this year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Post 10

This event was probably my most favorite event of the entire year (other than the birth of my 3rd child, and even that might be second because it was pretty painful) so I figure it deserves it's own posting.

My Aunt Lori got married this year.  It was so wonderful, my entire family met up in Minnesota to celebrate with her.  I have so many wonderful memories with her (with all of my aunts, really.  I have an amazing family.)  She has tagged along on some of our family trips and I enjoyed that more than I could possibly say.  She is so fun and easy going, she always just fit right in with all of us.

Welcome to the family Jason & Stori.  We're so excited to have you.

12 Days of Christmas: Post 9

I'm running behind, SHOCKING I know, but this post was SO time consuming.  I've been working on it forever!  So here it is....

 Favorite #9 is Hunter.

I have been having a lot of fun at Hunter's expense this year (which honestly is a favorite past time of mine).  He is so surrounded by girls that he *naturally* picks up some of the things we girls do every day.  Trust me, he is 100% boy,  but it sure is fun to see what he picks up and what he doesn't from all the females around him.  I call it my list of "Why I'm pretty sure my son thinks he is a girl."  If you haven't read some of my facebook posts on him I included some of them on the list and added a few more.

Since there were so many pictures I decided to do the post in scrapbook pages, so click on the picture and you should be able to read all about him.  I did a list of 21 reasons he is a boy, with a few little captions or paragraphs as to why I'm convinced he thinks he is a girl.  It's all in good fun, lest you think I am terribly mean (which I am, but not in this case.)

Hunter has grown so much this last year.  He's grown such a personality....I don't know how else to describe him.  He is so stinkin' adorable, you just can't help but love him to pieces.  Even when he is being a complete stinker he's so cute it's hard to get upset with him.  He loves cuddles and gives the best kisses....all day long (or at least lately as he's become a tad bit jealous of Presley) he comes up to me or Ryan and says "Hold me, mommy."  Oh, how that melts my heart!  It's almost impossible to resist holding him for a bit.  When I want cuddles from him and he says no I say to him, "Hold me, Hunter" and he laughs and will give me a quick hug.

This year he finally started talking.  When he was 2 1/2 he only said 12 words, so I was a bit worried, to be honest.  Madison was almost talking in complete sentences at 1, which I hear all the time not to compare boys and girls, but come on, of course I'm going to!  He finally moved on from only saying "No" or "More" and started saying "uh-huh" for yes about 3 months ago.  Now he has moved on to "yeah" for everything.  They are both so cute!  It just sounds so much more grown up than "yes" does.....weird that I think that, I know.

So, every time he sees something neat he yells out "Whoa, Cool!" really loud.  It makes me laugh so hard!  It's especially funny when we are in the movie theater and he yells it out.  I think it's my favorite saying of his.

Um, he's a tad bit stubborn....I mean, come on, both of his parents are so it's only reasonable that he will be as well.  HIS favorite phrase is probably, "No, don't want to."  Oh, yes, he LOVES saying this to me.  It drives me crazy!  I don't friggin' care if my 3 year old wants to do something I've asked of him or not, there are certain things that have to be done, say, oh....going potty!

We potty trained him, and it was going great, but he decided it wasn't all that much fun anymore.  So he is back in diapers now.  Seriously, I battled it out for 6 months and after daily accidents I decided it's not worth it.  He'll get tired of being a baby and want his underwear back soon enough.  I didn't mind making him go potty all the time once he decided he no longer wanted to let me know when he had to go.  But I did mind the kicking, screaming, hitting and crying that I encountered every time I took him potty.  Not to mention the times we sat on the potty with no "action" just to have an accident within 5 minutes after the potty break.  Go ahead, judge me.  He won that battle.  And you know what, he's decided he wants his underwear back and today he let me know when he needed to go.  Obviously what I was doing didn't work, so I'll try this instead.  I'm not willing to ruin my relationship with him over going potty on the toilet.  If he was 5, that would be a different story.....

He's still hungry ALL.  THE.  TIME.  He follows me around the house saying, "Food me."  I feed him, I promise!  He just likes to eat (he gets that from me, I LOVE to eat.)

The other thing he says ALL.  THE.  TIME.  is: "Mommy doing?"  It drives me nuts.  Every 15 seconds, "Mommy doing?"  Sometimes all I want to do is pull my hair out.  It's cute once, more than that is annoying.

When he decides he wants to do something he says:  "Do that."  I don't know why, but when I ask him if we wants to do....whatever....instead of saying "yeah" he says "do that."  It's adorable.

He also likes to state the obvious.  When Presley is crying he looks at me and says:  "Baby Presley crying."  Thanks, dude, I didn't hear it ::insert eye roll here::

Recently he has started trying to change my mind after I say no to something.  He looks at me with the most pitiful doggy eyes and says: "Please, mommy."  Oh, how I want to give him the world when he ways that.  It melts my stone-cold, hard heart.  I don't, because I'm a firm believer in consistency and hate the whining that comes when kids know they can change your mind.  But oh, how I want to!

My favorite Hunter story this year was this one.  I have to say, this is the story that I got the most amount of comments on....not necessarily on the blog, but every time I ran into someone they would comment on it.  I'm pleased to announce that we no longer have to follow this protocol.  He outgrew this behavior (and picked up on others, don't you for a second think I have it any easier now, it's just different.)

 We love our Hunterbear.  He is so sweet and funny, he lights up my days.  I'm so glad he's mine.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Post 8

I adore my children.  I know I constantly whine about them, but I absolutely adore them.  They make me laugh.  They make me smile.  They occasionally make me want to tear my hair out.  Every now and again they make me cry.  But mostly, they make my heart swell with love.  I'm am beyond grateful for each one of them, hence, the reason they will all get their own posting this year (as if I don't post enough about them.)

Madison has become our "toothless wonder" (can you tell we read the Junie B. books?).  She has lost 4 teeth this year.  I tell her that is she doesn't start brushing her teeth a little better she will end up losing them all!  She just gives me the look that says "Mom, you're an idiot." You know the one, it's the one that you used when you were a teenager.  Seriously, this 6 year old is a teenager in spirit already.  Well, she has the attitude of one, that's for sure.

Madison is my only child that will give me cuddles and hugs without any begging on my part.  She is so helpful with anything I ask her to do.  She never complains when I ask her to run and grab me a diaper, or my cell phone, or my kindle, or a sippy cup, or anything else.  She just gets up and does it without any complaints.  She is always so eager to help with her siblings.  She makes it so easy to get things accomplished.  I love her.  I love her.  I love her.  She makes life really fun. 

Now, as much as I adore her, what would a (my) blog post be without the moments that make life interesting?  Here are a few of her exploits this year.  She really kept me on my toes all year long.  She is so stinkin' smart that she makes my head hurt.  Seriously, she is always asking me questions that make me have to think really hard before I answer.  The last thing I want to do is get into details on questions like, "Mommy, how do babies get into your tummy?" 

Oh, yes, we have had that one a few times this year.  I've tried the whole, "Well, honey, when mommy's and daddy's love each other Heavenly Father sometimes sends them a baby." 

She then proceeds to ask, "But how does the baby get in your tummy?" 

My response has been, "'s like this.....uh, how about you ask your daddy that question?"

I'm stumped.  I think I might have babbled out something that maybe might have abated her questions for a few weeks, we shall see.  I don't even remember what I said.....Maybe if I confuse her enough she'll stop asking?????

Along those lines, I have to say I am a bit worried for me when it comes to her.  She is a bit (and I use that term loosely) boy crazy.  We had two experiences this year that have caused a little anxiety on my end.  I'm a little worried that I may be on Valium by the time she is even able to date!  See, she has a few boyfriends.  She LOVES her boyfriends.  In fact, she is having a hard time deciding who she wants to marry.....I keep telling her not to worry, she'll figure it out when she is a LOT older.  Oy.

Anyway, so a few months ago she was sitting next to one of her favorite boyfriends in Primary during Sharing Time at church .  They are kind of cute together and I haven't worried too much that she is a bit obsessed with him, YET.  So I guess they were feeling a bit affectionate towards each other that day.  I wasn't in there, I got this all second-hand from a few different sources.  They kept holding hands, Madison kept putting her legs up on Isaac (I guess she sees me do that to Ryan ALL.  THE.  TIME. and figured that was a normal way to show affection.), and then they started kissing each other. 

On. The. Lips. During. Sharing. Time. 

A little bit inappropriate, to put it mildly.  The chorister asked them repeatedly to stop kissing/holding hands/ who knows what else, and they didn't.  So she had to finally say "Front Row, no touching!"  I feel so bad for her primary teachers, she is just like I was and I was a PILL during church.  I probably still am....I still talk incessantly during church.

It's not like this is the first time she has been caught kissing one of her boy friends.  I'm pretty sure she has kissed all of them.  Heck, I'm pretty sure she has kissed more boys than I have.....if not she's pretty close.  A year or so ago, after I found out she was kissing her boy friends, I told her that is was no ok to kiss all her friends on the lips.  She looked at me and said, "But mommy, I have to, it's 'True Love's Kiss.'"  I guess she had found a way to convince all her boy friends to play Sleeping Beauty with her and OF COURSE they have to kiss..... Like I said, she's a little boy crazy.

Along that same line, let's talk about her friend Brady.  He was in her kindergarten class and I guess they liked each other a bit.  I thought he was about the cutest thing ever, every now and again they would get to play together.  Well, I discovered that his sister babysits (she has become my favorite babysitter because she CLEANS my house.  Seriously CLEANS my house.  I'll pay extra for that!) so we had her over for a night of sitting a month or so ago and Madison went to go pick her up with me.  When we got there Brady answered the door in his swim trunks (I think they were anyway, who knows, boys just don't seem to like wearing clothes) so the kids got to say hi to each other for a minute.  We got in the car and I didn't think much more of it.

We took his sister to our house and then Ryan and I left.  Madison and she had a little bit of time to play before bedtime and I guess Madison thought it was super cool that the sitter was Brady's older sister.  When we got home the sitter was telling me how it went and then started laughing, she proceeded to tell me that after we left Madison turned to her and said, all giggly, "Didn't you think Brady was soooo cute without his shirt on?"  Are you kidding me??????  She's 6, she shouldn't even realize that he had it off!

See why I'm so worried????? 

Overall Madison had a big year this year.  She started 1st grade and got to finally eat in the cafeteria.  That is what she was so excited about when she went to all day school.  At least it wasn't the food that she was so excited about.  In what universe should Nachos be considered as a viable "healthy" lunch option for elementary school kids?  CCSD apparently thinks that is an appropriate main dish.  eesh.

She got to see her first theater production.  She went with my mom, my sister and me to see the Lion King show here in Vegas.  I was a little nervous because the movie scares her a little bit, but she loved it, she keeps asking when she can go see it again.  I'm so glad she enjoys the theater, Ryan and I both love it.

She played her first season of soccer.  I am beyond relieved it is over, it was so time consuming.  She liked the girls she played with and her coach.  She didn't mind practices, but the games made her a little bit nervous.  It took her a bit to get used to the scrimmaging.  After the first game she stopped asking when she would make a goal and just asked when she would get to kick the ball!  Poor girl, we should have started her last year before it got more competitive.  But she did like it, she says she wants to play again next year.  In this picture she is kicking the ball, she's #8.

I'm constantly reading on facebook the funny things that other kids say.  Mine don't say really funny things often, but every now and again they cause me to laugh out loud.  Here are some of Madison's lines from this year that were too good to forget:

***One day Hunter was being a stinker and she looked over at me, so serious, and said to me:  "Mommy, Hunter is going to go to outer darkness because he is so naughty."  Once I stopped laughing at her I said, no he's not, he's only 2, he's just being a 2 year old.  You on the other hand shouldn't be so quick to say Hunter is're 6 and know better and still do naughty things.  Heck, the majority of "naughty" things he does he learned from her! 

***Another day Hunter was being silly and making us all laugh, Madison looked over at me and said, "Mommy,  get a picture and put it on facebook."  When she said that I started thinking maybe I spend a little too much time on facebook.

***Who could forget the infamous phone call she made earlier in the year?  Read about that here.  It was hilarious.  This story was probably my favorite "Madison Moment" of the year.  I still can't get over the fact that she made that phone call.

***My last favorite little story of the year came during the 43 days my car was in the shop.  The first day we had the minivan rental she got in and said "Wow!  Cool!  Awesome!  Exciting!"  as we were buckling in to leave the house.  All I could do was roll my eyes at her.  Later on she said, "Mom, can we got a minivan?"  My response was a firm, "No."  She got so sad, so I said to her, "Madison, when you are older you can get a minivan, but I don't want one."  She thought for a second and said, "Really?  When I'm 16 and start driving I can get a minivan?"  I said, "Oh, yes, you can, and I will write down that you said that."

Guess what her first car will be?  Just because I'm so super nice like that.

I love my big girl.  She is so fun, I'm so glad she came to our family.  I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Post 7

"My Favorite Mommy Moments"

You know how in You've Got Mail Meg Ryan's character goes on about how she never comes up with a good comeback when she needs it?  She thinks of it an hour later?  Well, that is me.  Maybe that is why I love blogging and facebook so much, it gives me a chance to think before I also tends to help with the *foot in mouth* disease I suffer from.

As an almost totally unrelated topic, doesn't hearing about that movie just make you want to run out and get a freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils?  It does for me.  Every September I think if this movie and wish I could get a freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils delivered to me.....

Anyway, I've titled this story "Witty Comebacks Timed Perfectly."  That's right, there were a very few occasions this year in which my stellar wit was displayed.

Drumroll please..............

Madison:  "Mommy, can I have....."  (who knows what she was asking for)

Me:  "No"

Madison:  "I like daddy more than I like you."

Me:  "I like daddy more than I like you, too."

That's it.  Yep, that's really it.  My ONE witty comeback for the year.  I still think it was brilliant.  I'm sure I had more, but I only remember one.  I'm so lame.

I kind of lost my mind this year.  Literally.  My poor family... I can't remember anything.  Just this morning I was trying to remember what I had to do today and I almost called Ryan to ask him if he knew.  Thankfully, before I called him, I remembered I had to go and buy his present.  At least I hope that is all I needed to do.....

Yesterday I went to Target and got some stuff off of a list and maybe a few other things but forgot one of the main reasons I went.  So Ryan had to stop at the grocery store on his way home from work to get the sour cream that I needed for our dinner.  As an FYI, that is the SECOND time in the last 5 days I went to Target and forgot the most urgent item I needed.  Last time it was a birthday party gift for the next day.  Ryan had to run to Toys R Us at 11:30 pm because the party was so early the next day.

Which leads me to the fact that I completely forgot to take Madison to a birthday party this year.  Just plain forgot. 

Just recently, again, this week, I was assembling Christmas Cards and started to close one of the envelopes up without putting a card in it.  Seriously, I can't make this stuff up.

Or how about the fact that I forgot about school picture day and almost sent my daughter to school looking like a rag-a-muffin.  Thankfully someone sent me a text with a question about them and the picture turned out fantastic and Madison was only a teensy bit late for school.

Remember in my "favorite recipes" post I alluded to a cooking debacle? (and I'm not referring to the time a few months ago that I almost started the house on fire while boiling water.  Oh, yes, a true story).

I was making my Roasted Chicken with Apples recipe and I was tripling the sauce recipe because I was making 4 chicken breasts.  No big deal right?  I grabbed 3 frozen containers of cider out of the freezer and started preparing it.  While making the sauce I kept simmering and simmering and could not get the sauce to thicken.  I'm not great in the kitchen, but I have made the recipe multiple times and never had a problem.  I finally gave up after about a half hour of simmering and we just ate it as it was.  As I was finished eating and waiting for everyone else to finish it occurred to me that I had put in 3 CUPS of cider instead of 3 HALF cups. 

Paying attention to details is apparently not my strength right now.

Another one of my favorite stories from this year was when some friends came over to dinner and I made spaghetti and salad.  Easy right.  It was delicious (spaghetti is probably my best dish, again, lame, I know).  Anyway, about a week later I opened the oven and there sat the garlic bread I had made for it.  I had turned off the oven and left it in there to stay warm and simply forgotten about it.

I could go on and on with my list of "Way to Go Amanda" moments from this year.  But seriously, I've forgotten them all, giving more proof of my "lost mind."

Let's change the topic to "My favorite discoveries" from this year.  I know, I know, they could have gone in one of my previous postings, but honestly, I didn't remember them in time so I am adding them on to this one. 

Once again, it's my blog, I can make any rule I want :)

My cousin Brent introduced this "favorite" to me.  I forget water every time I go somewhere.  I'm constantly stuck somewhere, thirsty, and without water.  If it's Target or the grocery store it's no big deal, I just buy another water.  Well, when I'm at the mall there is nowhere to buy one that isn't $3 for a tiny bottle.  I ahte spending that much on a bottle of water.  Well, I discovered that GNC has large bottles of water for under $2 (I think they are about $1.86 after tax).  Seriously, it made me so happy to discover that.  I'm also pretty sure we have already established I'm a dork right?

My sister-in-law introduced this one to me:  Elf on the Shelf.  Seriously, it's about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  I think I got the last one in the city of Las Vegas.  I went to Border's and got lucky, someone had returned theirs. 

We named ours Fred.  Every morning we find him in a different place around the house.  After reporting to Santa he has landed in mommy and daddy's room, Madison's room and Hunter's room.  Every morning Madison and Hunter run through the house looking for where he might be that day.  We love our dear Fred.  We welcome him to our yearly traditions.

I also discovered this year that if you buy picture frames at Costco they include a coupon for 100 free 4x6 pictures from their 1 hour photo.  I develop everything there anyway.  That is $13 right there!  So my 2-3 picture frames are only a few dollars.  Plus, they are better quality frames than the $5 or less ones at Target or Wal-mart.  Whenever I need to develop pictures I pick up some new frames first and then pay.  Saving money makes me happy.  Oh, and you are allowed to use more than one at a time.  I hadn't developed pictures in forever and used 3 last time I went.

My last favorite thing I discovered this year is Magnesium.  Seriously love this stuff.  For a few months this year I started running, badly, but running none-the-less, and I would be so sore.  So I took 2 Magnesium on the days I ran, and 1 on the other days, and I didn't get quite as sore.  When I first started I could hardly walk the next day, Magnesium made it so that I didn't feel like I pulled every muscle in my legs, I was just achy.  I can handle that.  So, for all of you that run (and I think every one of my friends does), try it.  It makes such a difference.  I got mine from Costco, it was pretty cheap.  So, once the holidays are over, and I am home for more than 3 or 4 days at a time, I will be running and dieting again to try and get this dang baby weight off, and Magnesium will save me.  Unfortunately it won't save me from hating running, just hating the pain the next day.

Um, do you like how I used the word "Seriously" about a hundred times in the post?  Right now I'm seriously too tired to care.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Post 6

I shouldn't have a favorite sister, and honestly I don't, but it's hard not to really love a childless sister who will *voluntarily* watch your 3 monsters for a week so you and your hubby can go to NYC without them. 

***Just to set the record straight, I'm pretty sure any of my sisters would have done this for me, she was simply the unlucky one without a job during the time we needed her.

We took full advantage of our temporarily childless state.

We did everything we possibly could have done in the 7 days we were there.

We saw 6 shows, yes 6.

We ate, oh how we was wonderful
(I love food, for any of you that might still be wondering).

We, of course, ate at a few little pizza places here and there.  But, we discovered the most wonderful Italian place, Tony's...oh.  my.  goodness. it was pure heaven.  The reviews lived up to the hype.  The Veal Parm was melt-in-your-mouth amazing.  Go there.  Period.  Go there.  I've had some good Italian over the years.  Nothing could touch this.  I would move to NYC just to eat there regularly.

We are slowly getting around to all the famous pizza places in NYC, this trip we hit up Lambardi's.  It was good, I think I just prefer John's.  Honestly though, I just love NY style pizza.  Yum.

My other favorite find, thanks to Natalie Hill, was Shake Shack.  I made Ryan eat there twice it was so good.  I don't usually care for fries, they don't do it for me, but their cheese fries were incredible.  Their Black & White shake was heavenly.  Even their burger was amazing.  I'm getting hungry.....

Seriously, I love food.

Did I mention we hit up Carlo's Bakery?  You know, the one from the TLC show Cake Boss?  Oh, yes, we did.  I have to say, I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype of the show.  It's not like we got a cake or anything, but the pastry's were yummy.  The Chocolate Cream Puffs were incredibly good. 

Just as a little side note, don't try to eat lunch in Hoboken.  There are not a lot of options.  Just warning you.....

It's a really good thing we walked miles and miles and miles every day. 

We even got a few sports events in 

The U. of Memphis vs. Kansas game was the reason we decided to go to NYC in the first place.  Everything else was just icing on the cake.

Even though the purpose of the trip was to see Memphis play basketball,  we did make time to also attend the Giants vs. Redskins football game.  We survived the frigid, bitter cold during the game and cheered the Giants on to victory.  My poor brother-in-law, who is a huge Redskins fan, must have been just tearing his hair out watching them lose to the Giants.  We are huge Peyton Manning fans, but it only fair to cheer on his brother (especially since the Colts SUCK right now).

Alas, no celebrity sightings like the last time we were in NYC.  Maybe next time.

Thank you my dear Aunna for taking such good care of my kids.  I owe you.  BIG.

And a HUGE thank you to my parents who took us to NYC for our Christmas present, I can't think of anything that would have been more fun.

12 Days of Christmas: Post 5

In all my lists of favorite things I haven't yet listed Ryan.  I can't believe it!

He is my most favorite of my favorite things....

This year was a big one for us, we hit 10 years of marriage (if you haven't read "our story" yet you can read it here) and we had our 3rd child.  We still managed to find some time to do fun things.  I joke that we are putting a few girls through college with what we pay for's not that we pay that much per hour, we just really enjoy going out and doing things together!

We didn't do as much this year as we usually do....typically we have a date night two or three nights a month, this year we barely hit once a month.  I guess that's what a new baby does to your social life :)  We saw one UFC fight live (he saw one without me after the baby was born), Carrie Underwood, Terry Fator's Vegas show, "The Wedding Singer" and "The Drowsy Chaperon" at the Hale Center theatre in West Jordan, UT, and that was about it.....I don't think we have ever had such a low key year!  Considering I did a few blog posts that chronicled the  shows we saw, the concerts we went to and the trips we took, I can honestly say we had a calm year compared to 2008 & 2009.  We had a few trips, they will be chronicled in later posts :)

12 Days of Christmas: Post 4

Old picture, I know, but it's still one of my favorites
Pretty much all of you that know me know that I am a disaster in the kitchen.  I rarely sign up to take meals to people because I get so nervous that my food will make them sick.  I try.  I really do.  I actually even enjoy cooking, I just get so frustrated when I spend hours cooking and then even I won't eat the result. 

If you haven't figured out my post yet, this is my annual "What I was willing to eat" post, i.e. "My favorite Recipes & Favorite New Kitchen Gadget" post.

Here goes.....

I don't think I have ever posted about this recipe (and I use the term "recipe" loosely).  It is my family's favorite thing to eat and I love it because it is so easy. 

I was talking to one of my sisters a while back and complaining about the lack of easy recipes I have.  She immediately spouted this one off to of the girls who works in my dad's office had given it to her and said it was her family's all time favorite recipe.  I'm not sure if that is true, but I could probably say that it is my family's.  Thank you Vicki and Allie for sharing with me.

BBQ Biscuits

1 can of Grands biscuits (it doesn't matter which one, I use whatever I have on hand, the honey butter ones are yummy)
1 lb ground beef
BBQ sauce (I have made this using Sloppy Joe mix and it is yummy as well)
Grated Cheese

Cook the beef,  once cooked stir in BBQ or Sloppy Joe sauce. 

Using a muffin tin (or a small loaf pan, which I prefer) squish the Grands to cover the bottom and side of pan. 

Spoon the beef BBQ mix into the biscuits.  Top with Cheese.

Follow baking instructions on the Grands package.  I always bake the longest amount, I found that with the mixture on the biscuits it takes a few minutes longer to cook.

That's it.  Seriously, it's that easy.  See why I use the term "Recipe" loosely???

Sweet Chex Mix:
I actually made this as my holiday treat this year, I love it that much.....Heck, anything (well, almost) that is sweet is an instant favorite.  I have gotten a few friends addicted to this stuff as're welcome :)

Here is the actual recipe,
1 1/2 c butter
1 c white Karo
1 c sugar
3 c rice chex
3 c corn chex
6 c golden grahams
1/2 c coconut
slivered almonds

I modified mine to be:
1 c butter (1 1/2 just tasted too buttery)1 c honey
1 c sugar
12 c rice and corn chex (It's actually about half a box each.  I don't even measure anymore.)
3 c golden grahams (I didn't like having so many golden grahams, it was just too sweet so I lower the quantity of gg and upped the chex, I prefer it that way)
1 c marshmallows -I eyeball it and put in however much looks yummy
1/2 c coconut - same thing, I probably add more
Slivered almonds

In large (I do mean LARGE) bowl combine cereals, coconut, marshmallows and almonds

In saucepan combine butter, sugar and honey/Karo

Bring to a boil and let boil for 2 min

Let sauce cool a bit (or it will melt the marshmallows, which I think is yummy so I don't let it cool very long)

Pour over cereal mixture-I do half, mix really well and then pour the other half.  That seems to coat it best

You can spread it on wax paper to cool, but I just leave it in the bowl and eat it and eat it and eat it. 

Needless to say, I only make it when lots of people will be around, otherwise I make myself sick.

Black Bean Dip:

I begged one of my friends to share this recipe with me after she made it for book club.  I am not much of a dip fan, I don't really care for chips so I rarely eat dip.  That being said, I am addicted to this dip.  I make it every chance I get.  I think it is probably pretty healthy, too bad the chips ruin it.  But, it would probably taste yummy on carrots or something.  Just so you know, it's really, really yummy with the lime flavored Tostito chips.

I'm crossing my fingers that my friend will not mind me sharing it with the entire cyber world...It's just too good to keep to myself.

1 can black beans, drained
1/2 c fresh salsa
2 T cilantro (I use WAY more)
2 T lime juice
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Blend all together in a food processor. 

That's it, eat and enjoy.

Roast Chicken With Garlic, Apples & Cider:

This recipe actually came from Red book magazine.  It looked so good I couldn't resist making it, my family loves it, and it really doesn't take that much time to make.  It sounds longer than it is.

I have a funny story about this recipe coming in a future blog post, while you are waiting on the edge of your seat, make's delicious.

2 Chicken breasts
1 T Olive Oil
1/2 t Salt & pepper
2 T Minced garlic
1 T Parsley
1 Golden Delicious apple
1/2 cup Apple cider
2 T Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Cream

Heat oven to 400*

Brush chicken with olive oil, salt & pepper.

Bake 20-25 min

In skillet:  simmer garlic, cut up apple, cider & mustard gently for 10 min, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cream.  Add chicken and simmer until sauce thickens. 

Stir in parsley.

My adjustments:  I double the sauce recipe.  We like sauce of any sort, BUT I do not double the mustard.  I'm not a huge mustard fan so I keep it at 2 T, otherwise it's too strong.

Also, it's pretty hard to find cider during the year, so I buy a jug during the holidays and freeze it in 1 cup increments.

Chicken Spinach Lasagna Casserole:

Here's another recipe I tried from Red book, funny enough, these are the only two I've ever made, but they were definitely wonderful.  Trisha Yearwood did a spread for the magazine and included a few recipes (I'm guessing it was to promote her cookbook), anyway, I have made this a few times and even took it for a dinner to a girl who had a was that good.....and that easy.

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 (10 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 1/2 ounce) jar mushrooms, drained
1/3 cup mayonnaise
6 lasagna noodles - COOKED (I made that mistake once, you have to cook them in this recipe)1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, chicken, cheddar cheese, onion, cornstarch, salt, pepper, soy sauce, soup,sour cream, mushrooms and mayonnaise.

Put a layer of noodles in the bottom of a greased (9x13x2 inch) lasagna pan.

Spread half of the spinach mixture over noodles.

Place another layer of noodles on top and cover with remaining spinach mixture.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, then pecans on top.
Bake for 1 hour.

Apple Butter

Did I mention that I made HOMEMADE Apple Butter this year?  Before you start to think I'm even close to Martha Stewart it's about the easiest thing I have ever canned.  Thanks to the delicious apples my mother-in-law brought me (along with the easiest recipe EVER) I have a pantry stocked with them.  Yay!!!

20 apples, cored and peeled and cut into small pieces
4 cups of sugar
1 T of Cinnamon

Yep, that's it. 

Stir it all together and put in the crockpot on high for 1 hour.  Stir and cook for 8-9 more hours on low. 

With about 1 hour left to go use an Immersion Blender (stick blender) and blend it smooth.  Let it cook another hour and then I put them in 1/2 pint jars and gave them a water bath for 10 minutes.

You really can't mess it up.  Seriously, we left one batch on high for about 3 hours and it still turned out just fine.

Here are a few more recipes (with links, thank goodness!) I love:

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

Oh, this is so yummy.  I just discovered it recently and LOVE it.  I am a little addicted to Panera Bread's Macaroni and Cheese (What?!?  You haven't had it.....try it, or maybe you shouldn't, it is sooooo yummy) and so I am going to get some white cheddar and try to replicate it.  Send your prayers, I am not very good at creating dishes.

Pot Roast Soup

This is incredible.  I use my leftover french dip sandwich meat and make this.  We love, Love, LOVE it.  If the deliciousness of the french dip sandwiches wasn't enough to get me to make the meat, the soup is.  I add zucchini to it because, well, I love zucchini.

French dip sandwiches

Once again, another favorite recipe from my wonderful friend Lindsay.  I will forever owe you for this one.  I get the Kaiser rolls at the grocery to go with this and look forward to dinner all day as it cooks.  The website even claims it is the number one most requested recipe.  There is a reason, folks.  This is the recipe I use in the aforementioned Pot Roast Soup recipe.

My favorite Rolls

Since my husband earned some serious brownie points this year by buying me this baby, I have been working non-stop trying to perfect my bread making.  I have made many roll recipes and this is my favorite.  I tried the favorite roll recipe from Our Best Bites, but I thought they were just eh.  But this one....oh, they are yummy. 

I also discovered Dough Enhancer ( I got mine at a Bosch store) this year and now will not make bread without it.  I know, I know, it's not as healthy, but hey, I'm making white bread dinner rolls.  I'm pretty sure there isn't too much healthy about them anyway.  Also, I am now converted to bread flour.  I buy it at Costco and love the difference in my bread.

That's it for this year.  I stuck to the recipes I seem to always make, over and over again.  Happy cooking!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Post #3

I'm always on the hunt to find products that I like, things that make my life easier, but most of all, products that simply do what they are supposed to do.  Here are a few that I found this year that I recommend.  Thank you to my friends that originally recommended them to me.....I'm always grateful for help in making my life easier.

My top pick of favorite discoveries from 2010 is this:  Shout grease stain spray.  I LOVE this stuff.  Seriously.  You know when you get spots on your clothing and nothing will take them out so you end up having to throw them away?  Yeah, this stuff gets those spots out.  No joke.  Even if the item of clothing has been washed and dried multiple times.  I have gotten out chocolate, spaghetti sauce, random grease stains and so on.  If my regular OxyClean stain spray didn't get it out I go with this.  I have a really hard time finding it, I tried 3 Targets, 4 grocery stores, and finally found it at Wal-Mart.  I made a special trip there to get it and I bought now I don't have to go back for a while.  Try it, especially if you have kids.  Oh, and did I mention the fact that it gets out the nasty newborn poop that gets everywhere when they explode?  Oh yes, it does....

My other favorite cleaning product is a drain disposal foam cleaner.  I find it at Target, it's not very expensive but it cleans my sink disposal and makes it smell heavenly.  It's pretty awesome.  I hate having a nasty sink so I use it about every other month and it makes me feel better about being a crappy house cleaner.

I discovered 2 different lotions in the last year and I love them both.  Living in the desert makes for some seriously dry skin, I have tried almost every lotion out there in the past 10 years and I'm pretty sure I won't be changing these products any time soon.  They both work amazingly well.  And funny enough, I get both of them at Costco (they are cheapest there).

I use Amlactin when my skin is especially dry, it works so well, and it is super thick.  I don't love the smell of it so I often will mix half-and-half with my Jergen's cherry almond lotion (yum).

The other lotion I love is a 100% Shea butter.  I find it at Costco for $15 for 4 jars.  They last a LONG time and smell divine.  If your Costco doesn't have them, they are on Amazon for $15 for 3 jars.  They make my hands so soft, I love it!

I promise I have fun posts of family things coming....I just don't have all of my pictures on the laptop and I haven't been blogging from home.  Delta is offering free internet access on their flights so I have been able to blog from the airplane during our 5-6 hour flight to and from NYC.  Cool, huh!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Post #2

If any of you are not on Facebook and have missed my CONSTANT postings about my Kindle obsession, here is an entire "Favorite's" posting making up for it.

I received a Kindle for my birthday and LOVE it. 
I can't put it down. 
I take it everywhere. 
I'm bummed I didn't get one years ago. 
I wish I could put every book I own on it. 
I'm completely converted to digital e-books. 

If you're on the fence about getting one yourself, get one.  It doesn't matter which E-book reader you get, just get one.  I wasn't sure I really wanted one but, trust me, you'll love it.

Just so this post isn't ALL about my obsession with (1) Reading, and (2) my Kindle, here are my favorite books of this year.  I'm sure most of you have read the first one, but if you haven't you MUST!  I haven't met anyone who didn't love it.

The Help
This book was wonderful.  
I have a hard time putting into words everything I loved about this book.  It wasn't so much eye-opening, as it was heart-wrenching.  It was beautifully written, sensitive, and touching.

You may read my review on

Become my friend and you can get constant emails of books I loved and hated.  I try to keep my rantings to a minimum.

The Book Thief
 This book is amazing.  I've recommended it to a few people and they liked it, but I'm not sure if they LOVED it quite like I did.  I'm not sure if I loved it because I read both The Help and The Book Thief within 4 days and they tied into each other so much, or if I simply just loved the story.  Seriously, it is such a beautiful story.  While I read it I could not put it down.  I might have even bawled like a baby in a few places.  For whatever reason it moved me. 

Whatever, I'm a dork and I like to read. 

I might even enjoy the use of tabbies, highlighters and book journals while reading good books. 

But, um...., maybe not......or at least I won't admit it. 


It was really interesting reading 2 books that focused on separate, very different, oppressed races.  Enough of my book report.  Read them.  And them call me, text me or email me your thank you. 

The Hunted
By Brian Haig
What?!?  You've never heard of Brian Haig?  You've never read Brian Haig?  Oh, how you are missing out.  My family LOVES him.  His books are so good.  And funny too.  I adore funny books.  This book does not follow his series, it is actually based on a true story set in Russia in the late 80's.  It was incredible.  I wasn't too sure about it until about half way through.  Now I can't stop thinking about it.  It ended up being one of the most fascinating books I've ever read.

Other books I read this year that I loved:  The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris.  I have to admit, I loved them.  I also could not put them down and pretty much ignored my kids and husband while reading them.

Flags of our Fathers was another one I read and loved.  I accidentally got the Young Adult version.  Oops.  But on a positive note, it wasn't quite as graphic and violent as I had anticipated.

There you go.  A few new recommendations.  Happy Reading!  And please, send me your favorites.....I keep running out of books to read.

Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 1

I've decided to break my annual "Favorite Things" post up into 12.  I thought it might be fun.  Now, as a preface, there is no guarantee that I will be posting daily throughout the month of December, BUT I will work very hard to get my 12 completed before Christmas.  AND I may post more than one per day on occassion.  It's my blog, I can do whatever I want.

****If you'd like to see what I rated as my favorite things the last few years you can click HERE or HERE.

In years past I have mentioned my love for Christian Dior mascara. 

I love it. 

I pay, what I consider, way too much for it. 

BUT, I have the dinky-est eyelashes so it is worth every penny.  My thought is: save on other items, splurge on mascara.

This year I discovered Dior's Lash Plumping Serum.





Seriously, if you have dinky, thin, lame eyelashes like mine get yourself some.  It will be the best $28 you ever spend on mascara (well, mascara enhancement.  You use both.)

You'll thank me.