Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions

***Updated to add*** I just got home from the doctor. My chest got to feeling really heavy and crackly. It took me 2 1/2 hours to get ready to go. I'd shower, lay down, get dressed, lay down, dry my hair, lay down. You get the picture. I have no strength and I'm real achy. Turns out I have bronchitis. They gave me a breathing treatment, antibiotics and an inhaler so I can breathe better. Back to bed for me. It's a new year...I've got things to do...darn body wont let me...sheesh! Me and my honey
Freezing our tooshies off on top of South Mountain.
(using tripod and timer)
I love that man.
I've been sick in bed with a bad cough, sore throat, low grade fever, chills, the works. Did you know that giving birth to 5 children makes you lose control of your bladder when you cough, sneeze or laugh hard? Have to cross my legs tight to avoid embarrassing myself. Nice, huh?! One of the perks of motherhood. I decided to get up to share my goals with you, then I'm heading back upstairs to my nice warm bed. :o)
New Years Resolutions
I know some of you are saying to yourselves "not another goal obsessed list" I know there are lots of people who don't make resolutions because they are disappointed when they fail at them. I try to have a more positive attitude about them. In my mind how can we strive to make our lives better if we don't set goals for ourselves? So, of course I'm all about the goals. Here's this years list...
  • Spend more meaningful quality time with my family.
  • Continue to work on home organization projects.
  • Learn to teach with confidence...this is huge!
  • Do something scrapbook related at least twice a month.
  • Lose 30 pounds...according the the body fat % test I'm 29% fat and have grand total of 51.9 pounds of fat, but I will be happy to be rid of 30 of those 51.9. Oh my crud! How is that possible? What an eye opener that was. I will still eat what I like because I have the need to be happy, but I will drink more water, eat smaller portions, and exercise at least 4 times a week.
  • Be a better housekeeper
  • Complete all my personal progress goals in young women's. This is huge as well.
  • I will read the Book of Mormon.
  • I will teach my boys to cook and bake.
  • I will create a cookbook for each of them with pictures and easy instructions full of family favorite recipes to give to them next year for Christmas.
Happy New Year to all of you. I hope your celebrations are safe and happy ones. I always worry with so many drunks on the road, so I tend to stay home to ring in the new year.
Feel free to share some of your goals with me. :o)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My sweet boy Chad

Well I survived the week from heck...I won't say I got through it with sanity in tact because I didn't. It's been a really rough week for me all together. My emotions are running extra high lately. I swiped these pictures off of Chad's myspace page. I miss him so much. It was so hard to not have him home for Christmas and I don't want to ever do that again. Him and a couple other soldiers exchanged presents and he got our gifts on Christmas eve. They all loved the treats we sent. We also got to talk to him on the phone on Christmas eve and day. That was really nice to hear his voice. Look at the guns on that boy. He's been working out A LOT! :o)
Here are a few snipits of random stuff
  • 2 days before Christmas all 3 boys were puking.
  • Christmas eve Mark felt icky
  • I wrapped all the presents by myself just under the wire
  • For the church party I made garlic mashed potatoes that consisted of 20 pounds of potatoes, 2 heads of garlic, 2 pounds of sour cream, 1 1/2 pounds of butter, salt, pepper and sugar...yum!!!!
  • I also helped Mark make 3 pies...yum again!
  • Really enjoyed all the talents shared at the ward party. Very entertaining.
  • for our family party we made 20 more pounds of garlic mashed potatoes, stuffed pork chops and sweet potatoes. My family brought the rest.
  • The wedding I catered was outside...just so you know, a chocolate fountain will freeze up in cold weather. It flowed for about a minute then it was more like magic shell.
  • I got up in the middle of the night to start making food for the wedding. I discovered the freezer was unplugged yet again. Some of the food for the wedding was in there. I broke down in tears because I was so tired and had no time to go to town to replace the items. My sisters came to my rescue and bought the stuff and came out to my house to help. I love those girls!
  • I still have a stack of Christmas cards that have yet to be mailed out. I ran out of time and $$ to get them off in time. I still plan to send them. Hopefully they will still be appreciated after Christmas.
  • Went to the dentist to have my new crown put on. It didnt fit right so without warning he used the thumper to break it out of my mouth after it was cemented in. Scared me to death. I nearly leaped out of the chair.
  • The family party was really fun and I'm happy with what we won in the white elephant game. Next year the men will not shop for that. We had an abundance of tools in it this year. It was pretty funny.
  • Christmas morning the boys woke us up early to open presents. As soon as they were done and happily playing I went back to bed and slept for a good 3 hours. My body just shut down for over exhaustion.
  • Went to a Christmas brunch in Casa Grande. It was really nice and we had a good visit with some of Mark's family.
  • Still haven't uploaded any pictures. I will soon.
  • I'm going to work on not spreading myself so thin. I'm also taking a little me time. :o)
  • I sure hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Santa's little helper is busy!

How did I not realize until tonight what a busy week I have ahead of me? It's insane! and how did I not realize that Christmas is a mere week away? I know every single one of you are so darn busy this week too. I just thought I'd share a bit of my week so you would undertand if you don't see much of me. I sat down to look at my calendar and this is what I discovered...
  • I'm not even close to done shopping for my boys, family exchange, young women, white elephant,wishing tree gift and Brittany's birthday.

I haven't wrapped one thing...not ONE!

  • I'm ALMOST done with Christmas cards. I delivered a bunch of them on Saturday because apparently the post office has changed their rates on clear envelopes and square cards, so it now cost's almost a $1.00 each to mail. No longer just the 12 cents sur charge. So if you live in the valley you will get a personal delivery from me sometime this week. If you live out of state it will come by mail in the brand spankin' new mail truck I just made possible by paying those ridiculous rates to mail Christmas cards. Just know you are loved!
  • Cole starts basket ball and has practice on Monday and Tuesday nights.
  • Cole also has a Christmas performance at school on Tuesday in the morning and evening.
  • I have to make 16 cute centerpieces for the ward Christmas party.
  • I have young women's on Wednesday night. That's also Brittany's birthday so I need to go see her.
  • Cody has the dentist appointment on Thursday. Have to pick him up early from school to get to town in time for that. While in town I need to buy groceries for a wedding I'm catering on Friday.
  • Spend all day Friday working on food and head over to set up at the wedding in town.
  • Saturday help decorate for the ward Christmas party. Make a huge batch of garlic mashed potatoes, rolls and 3 pies for that.
  • Sunday I have to teach the very important Christmas lesson in young women's to which I need to find time this week to prepare for that. I'm nauseous just thinking about that.
  • Family Christmas eve party at my house on Monday. Need to have a CLEAN house and the meal figured out for that. My house is a mess, but who has time to clean?
  • Perhaps if I didn't require sleep it wouldn't even be a problem. There will be lots of prayers said asking for strength and sanity to get through all of this plus the normal daily stuff of kids, school, homework, fighting, cooking, banking, errand running, etc.
  • I can do it! I am woman...hear me roar...okay..maybe just purr. :o)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pack Meeting

We had our first pack meeting with Mark as the new cub master. I forgot to share pictures, so here they are. It was an Indian theme this time, so I made headbands for all the cub scouts. One feather for the wolves, 2 feathers for the bears and 3 for the webelos. I put a bunch in Marks because he was the Chief. We did a modern day "scalping" by having a relay race where teams had to run down, sit, put a towel around his neck while another boy slathered him with shaving cream and shaved him with a butter knife. The boys had a blast and it was hysterical to watch.
Several boys had rank advancements so we did a face painting ceremony for them. They loved that too. We did a tug of war for boys who were moving up to the next den. Mark told some true Indian stories from his hometown. Plus no pack meeting would be complete without all the silly cheers. Mark is so loud and goofy. I think the cub scouts are pretty happy to have him as their new cub master.
I made fry bread as treats with butter, honey, powdered sugar, and cinnamon sugar. Cody helped me fry them up, but he forgot to turn the stove off when he was done, so you guessed it...a fire...this time on top of the stove instead of in the oven! Smoke, flames, fire alarms, the works. LOL!

We also made this for the boys. We made leather name tags that loop over the dowels. They have leather strips that hang down so we can put beads on them when they come to scouts, wear their uniform, and bring their book. The boys will like earning the beads. At the end of the year we will let them buy things with the beads they've earned. The holes were punched using my eyelet hole smacker. Surely scrapbook suplies should be a tax write off. I still need to get the right size knobs for the ends of the dowels, then I will paint the whole thing. I need to make the pack spirit stick too for January's pack meeting as well as an arrow of light award for a boy who has earned that.
I've been working on Christmas cards while doing laundry. Not even half way done. Next year I'm starting on them in September. I've never been this late on getting them out. I just keep telling myself. It's okay Jolene.
Is it normal to talk to yourself? I did plenty of it this weekend, and some things were not so nice. It was a rough weekend. Perhaps I'm losing it. Still haven't bought any Christmas presents. Who knows when I'll be able to. How many more days do we have? Wait...don't tell me. It will be fine...I have faith. :o)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cookie Exchange and treat recipes

The Christmas cookie exchange was this morning. There were 10 women, 3 husbands, and 2 cute babies who came. Several women couldn't make it for one reason or another. I'm sad they couldn't make up but appreciate the ones who did and enjoyed their company and their yummy cookies. I stayed up til 1:00 frosting pink cookies (Grandma George's recipe) and cutting up fruit for the fruit tray. (Note to self...Tripling the batch makes 10 dozen) Got up early this morning, showered and got busy making salsa and cinnamon rolls while Mark made breakfast quesedillas with sausage, eggs and cheese. Everything was really good. Now don't be thinking I'm all that. Although I do know how to make awesome cinnamon rolls from scratch, this mornings rolls were courtesy of the Pillsbury dough boy and that wonderful little pop can.
So you all want Christmas treat goes. They are so simple...honest! In fact I'm sure you all have some of these already. The cracker toffee recipe I got off the making memories blog. I've made it before but used this recipe....but then again we did have the oven fire while cooking this. :o) **Disclaimer** I am not responsible for oven fire in your home if you choose to make this. :o) Truth be know, the fire was my fault from not cleaning up drippings on the bottom of the oven first.
Homemade Reese's
1 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers - 1 sleeve
2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup melted margarine 2 cups creamy peanut butter.
Mix together the above ingredients and spread into a jelly roll pan. In microwave melt 1/2 cup margarine and 12 oz. chocolate chips pour over peanut butter mixture. Chill and cut into desired size squares.
English toffee
2 cups sugar 1 pound butter 2 Tbsp. water
Cook sugar, butter and water in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns "paper bag brown" Pour into a lightly greased jelly roll pan. Sprinkle with milk chocolate chips immediately, spread then top with chopped nuts of your choice. Break when cool.
Holiday pretzel bark
Melt 2 pounds premium white chocolate Fold in pretzels and M&M's. Pour onto a wax paper lined jelly roll pan. Cool and break into pieces.
Peppermint bark
Melt 2 pounds premium white chocolate add 12 candy canes - crushed
1 tsp. peppermint extract or 1/2 if using peppermint oil.
mix together then pour onto a wax paper lined jelly roll pan. Cool and break into pieces.
People chow aka reindeer poop
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
Melt together and pour over a box of Crispix cereal. Mix well the pour into a brown paper bag and shake with 2 cups of powdered sugar, added a little at a time.
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar 2/3 cup evaporated milk 1/4 cup butter 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups milk chocolate chips 6 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
In a heavy sauce pan, combine marshmallow creme, sugar, milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes remove from heat. Add both kinds of morsels, stir until they are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour into foil lined 8 inch square pan, chill 2 hours until firm.

Candied Pecans
1 pound pecan halves 1 Tbsp. water 1 cup sugar
1 egg white 1 tsp. Salt 2 tsp. Cinnamon
Put egg white and water in bowl and beat until frothy, but not stiff. In second bowl sift salt, sugar and cinnamon. Pour nuts into liquid and stir until well coated. Pour sugar mixture over nuts and stir again. Spread on greased cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 20-25 min. Stir every 10 min.
Mint Crisps
Melt chocolate mint wafers. Dip Ritz crackers in melted chocolate and cool on a rack
Cracker toffee
1+ sleeves of saltine crackers (also known as soda crackers)1 cup brown sugar1 cup (2 cubes) butter (or margarine)12 oz package of chocolate chips, Chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds all work wonderfully)*For best results follow the directions exactly*Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 10"x15" cookie sheet or jelly roll pan by lining it with foil and spraying it with cooking spray. Line the cookie sheet with a single layer of saltine crackers (you may need to break a few in half so the entire bottom is covered).Bring brown sugar and butter to a boil in a saucepan. Boil for 2 minutes. Pour hot mixture over crackers and spread until crackers are covered. Bake for 5 minutes in a pre-heated oven (400 degrees F.). Remove from oven and carefully press down any crackers that have bubbled up. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let pan sit until chocolate has mostly melted. Use knife to spread chocolate around. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cool in fridge. When completely cool, break into pieces and store in air-tight container.
Grandma George's frosted pink cookies
1 1/3 cup sugar 1 cup shortening 3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda 3 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese 2 Tbsp margarine
2 tsp. vanilla 1/2 bag or more of powdered sugar
(I added a teeny bit of milk too) food coloring
Cream sugar, shortening, eggs, and vanilla. Add buttermilk and baking soda; Cream. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. spoon onto cookies sheet and bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. My oven is 8 minutes.
Frosting: Mix together cream cheese, margarine and vanilla then add powdered sugar and food coloring. (hers were always pink) Frost cooled cookies and store in a container with waxed paper in between the layers. They are awesome and remind me of Kanosh Utah every time I eat them....good times there!
I'm off to work on Christmas cards that should have been mailed off weeks ago. I'm so far behind. I've had several of you email me asking for my new address. I thought I responded to everyone, but I could have missed someone accidentally. Please don't think I'm rude. Shoot me another email and I'll get that information to you. My email address is in my profile information on the side bar.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Holiday treats

Yesterday I spent ALL day setting up to get ready for the young women to make treats. I knew we could get more done if I had everything pre-measured and grouped in stations. I typed up some of my favorite Christmas treat recipes on one sheet to make it easy and so the girls could all take one home.

We all worked quickly to get as much done in the hour and a half we had. I still need to make fudge and toffee and package them all up today. I'll make candied pecans if I have time to go to Sam's Club for the nuts. They are like 10 bucks at the grocery store for a small thank you! We did get the peppermint bark, cracker toffee, mint crisps, people chow-aka reindeer poop, holiday pretzel bark and homemade Reese's done. Pretty good I think.

...and what fun would it be if we didn't end up with an oven fire to add to the excitement? One of the girls said "Is there suppose to be a fire in the oven?" ummmm...NOOOOO! I quickly pulled out the cracker toffee and threw some baking soda on the fairly large fire. I've never had an oven fire before.The house was filled with smoke. The girls and leaders were all laughing as we were running around trying to open windows and fan the smoke alarms to get them to shut off. I do my best to keep my guests happy. :o)
I seriously fell into bed last night in so much pain and with no ability to make clear sentences. I really don't know why you all think I have this obscene amount of energy. In reality I'm always tired. I hurt every single day and I just do what I can on my to-do list. Not everything. If I did do everything then I wouldn't have a mountain of laundry and bathrooms to scour. I think I'm the laziest busy person I know. I do hate being lazy, so it's a good thing I have so much on my plate to keep me busy. Would anyone like to come over with a pair of gloves and some easy off to help me clean the oven? anyone??? Is that crickets I hear?...hummmm...I guess it's a job for one. :o)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Table...before and after

As if I don't have enough to do right now I decided to paint the sofa table that's in my kitchen dining room. It was the honey pine, but we've had it for MANY years and it was looking REALLY beat you can imagine with raising 5 boys. Seriously BAD! I already had a quart of paint in the cupboard so I figured, what the heck. I'm doing it! The color said black ink, but it looks more charcoal. I painted it, then sanded the edges to give it more of a rustic look. (You know...beat up on purpose) Then I sealed it. I LOVE it! For now the holiday village will reside there. Come January it will be something else.

I'm outta here. Need to clean my house and prepare for the young women who are coming here tomorrow night to make holiday treats. We are sending them to Chad and his roommate as well as all the houses on my street. Cole counted and said there are 27 houses but 4 are vacant. Just doing our part to get these people to come out of their shells around here. I'm so use to knowing all my neighbors. We will again if I have anything to say about it. :o)

oh! I made the gumdrop ornament by hot gluing a ribbon all the way around a 2 1/2 inch styrofoam ball leaving a loop at the top for hanging. I did it that way because the gumdrops make it a heavy ornament. Then I just hot glued on the gum drops...cute and easy!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The centerpiece, tree toppers and baby blessing

Holy Crud! Never in a million years did I think I'd ever get 96 comments. I was just really hoping for over 50. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to see so many people that read my blog. So fun to see the lurkers come out. I truly appreciate each and every comment I get. They ALWAYS make me smile and cheer me up when I'm feeling cruddy. I bet you didn't realize how much power a simple sweet comment has, huh?! I was trying to figure out how to pick a winner this time. I usually print the comments, cut them into strips and pick one out. Since there are so many, I decided to save a tree and ask one of my boys to pick any number between 1 and 96 and that would be the winner. I didn't tell him why....and I'm not telling you which boy I asked so that the other 95 girls wont know who to be mad at for not choosing them. :o) The prize package includes a big jar of monster trail mix, my MOST favorite candy in the world-(candy cane kisses), ice skates ornament, gum drop ornament (I made it), sparkly present stickers, and our family Christmas card.

...and the winner is....







#6- Velvet Brick...AKA Carol!!!!

Congratulations Carol...I hope you like your prize. Email me your address so I can get this off to you. :o)

Be sure to congratulate her. She is truly deserving.

This weekend I made a centerpiece for my kitchen island. I wanted something long. I bought 4 pieces of cheap wood fencing from home depot, cut them down to about 3 1/2 feet, cut the ends and nail gunned them together to create a long box. I left it natural, because I like that look. I filled it with a lighted pine garland that I already had, pine cones, candles, poinsettias, and berries. Simple, cheap, easy and CUTE!


One of you asked to see my tree toppers. On the main tree I have a country angel. I got her at the barn boutique years ago from a fellow crafter. I still love her after all these years. She is made using a 1 liter 7 up bottle with the bottom cut off so she sits on the tree really well. The other one is a rusty star with a cute snowman painted on it. I got that one at another boutique. Every boutique I ever participated in, I always bought a few things from other crafter friends. Had to do my part to support them. ;o)

Today was a big day for little John. He was blessed in church today. He was so good through the whole thing. Brittany's dad is the one who blessed him. It was so nice. He was named after him and Marks dad. I need to go take some better pictures of him this week, but here is one of their family at lunch afterwards.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I appreciate ALL of you...honest!
I leave you with some silly holiday cheer Staring me, Mark, his brother Rodney and wife Cam. Click here. We can shake it with the best of them. hee..hee!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ornaments and 100,000 visitors R.A.K....

I thought I'd share some pictures of ornaments from my tree. Most are handmade. I painted all the cute wood ones and a few others. Some are made by other crafters and some are store bought. Of course there are some made by my kids.Frosty
"Cheesons" greetings - Mouse
Birdhouse log cabin

George boys fireplace stockings
George boys as Santa's reindeer
Americana bells for my boy so far away

Cody boy-painted pasta noodles
Rusty bell
Debbie-bird ornament for my sister who passed away
Bark snowflake with jingle bells
CTR Shield- Choose the Right

Flower filled tin cone-Total cuteness

Seasons greetings

Teddy Bear
Peace on Earth (Slate)
Snowman made from oval boxes

Baby Jesus

The tree is full of bears and stuffed animals

Wooden Rustic Stocking

Snowman with spectacles

Rusty tin tree

Joy reindeer
Silent night angel
Rusty tin Santa

Glass snowman snowmen buddies on slate
Mrs. Clause (Santa's better half)
Santa...ho! ho! ho!
"Meowy" Christmas -Kitty

Gingerbread dude...I have lots of these
Another rusty tin Santa
Rusty snowflake
All my boys made them!
Wooden rustic star

There you have it...a little tour of the tree. I have hundreds of ornaments but many are duplicates. In some pictures you can see bits and pieces of the rag tie garland I made as well. If you saw my tree in real life you would see that I decorate it much like my house. PACKED FULL of things that make me feel good....warm and cozy! Can't beat that! :o)

As for the random act of kindness. I'm doing a special give away in honor of me reaching 100,000 blog visitors today. How cool is that? I can't believe I've had that many visitors. Actually I believe I reached it a few days ago but site meter was down and didn't record my count for 2 days last week. I'm not going to tell you what the prize will be, but it will be something special that I put together for the holidays. Trust'll WANT to win it! Leave me a comment on this post and I will draw a winner out of a basket on Sunday night. There will be other posts in between now and then, but the winner will be announced then, as well as a picture of the prize package. SO FUN! :o)
Now go make comment...any to me.
What are you still doing here?...go!!! :o)

OH OH OH! Before I forget...again. For you local Arizona girls...I'm hosting a Christmas cookie exchange on Saturday morning December 8th. If you are interested in coming and making the drive out to Maricopa, email me and let me know. You'll need to bring 6 dozen HOMEMADE cookies on/in a platter or basket. I will be making everyone a yummy breakfast and we'll all exchange cookies and visit. I already have a dozen or so local girls who are coming, so it will be fun!