Monday, December 17, 2012

Not a hot topic this Monday ...

Hello everyone! How are you? I hope your week is going well!

I know that it has been eight days since my last post ... the longest I have ever gone without a post! With R gone I have the suckiest computer known to man ... It is miserable to use ... at least I have one right ... I just don't like to use it! So we all miss out on the musing of Amy Combe ... sad I know ... ha!

There has been so much that has happened  ... controversy ... tragedy ... I want to comment on it all ... but I also don't want to be just one of the many ... and so I will just say this:

  1. I wore a skirt to church. One of my friends said that church is not a place to protest ... I agree ... if you feel like you need to protest then maybe this church isn't for you because you are clearly not understanding what we are all about. Another on of my friends talked about how she wears a dress because it is her best ... shouldn't we want to wear our best for Heavenly Father ... show him physically that we are all trying to be our best. You should all understand that in our religion we do believe that Heavenly Father sees us as equal ... we are separate but equal ... we each have our divine qualities and responsibilities ... we are separate ... but in the eyes of our Heavenly Father we are equal ... in the eyes of each other we are equal ... that is why I said that you should figure out more about your own religion if you feel you need to protest it!
  2. I send my thoughts and prays towards the town of Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty seven beautiful innocent people lost their lives ... my heart hurts for all of the families involved. I ... well ... I don't feel as if I have the correct words to even give any more comment on this subject. There aren't even adequate words to describe the amount of love and grief I have ... and so I will stop there ... please know that I love you.
apparently I did have a lot to say!

well ... I do have more things I want to talk about ... but mostly ... they belong in a different post.

So I'm going to end this one ... short and sweet ...

Oh! And I want everyone to know how ridiculously excited I am to be going to Texas for Christmas ... I may not exactly be a Texas person ... but I am a family person ... and any chance I get to be in my parents home with my brother, sister, hubby, daughter, and parents I take it ... and so ... we drive! See you Saturday Texas! hopefully you are as excited as I am!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Polar Express Hot Chocolate

So! I totally forgot that my wonderful friend Lauren from recipe group asked me to post a picture of the hot cocoa that I made for them to drink that night ... geez ... simple request ... bombed execution ... at least I'm cute right ... ha!

Ok ... so I found the recipe here on the honey and fritz website ... which is also where I stole the picture ... R was being a good husband and did the dishes ... but he forgot to let me get a picture ... not that I told him I needed one ... but yanno ... this picture works!

Polar Express Hot Chocolate:

Thank you so much 
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 c. bittersweet chocolate (I used chocolate baking bars ... she used chips)
6 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

for crockpot: combine all ingredients and cook on high for at least three hours stirring every so often (chocolate will burn on bottom if you don't at least every half an hour).
for stove top: combine all ingredients in large pot and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring constantly

Now ... I liked this original recipe ... it was so rich and creamy ... the recipe group loved it too ... they said they love the bittersweet chocolate taste ... however, if you have  sweet tooth that is a big as mine it would probably be better if you used milk chocolate ... or ... you could even use white chocolate chips for white hot chocolate!

Either way you like it enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Popcorn

It's that time again ... the holidays are upon us and that means growing waistlines from all the amazingly wonderful treats! It has been a while since I have posted a recipe ... and since I yet again ran out of time get enough recipes down to for the others in recipe group ... it seems as if it were a perfect time to post a recipe ... I do owe it to the others in recipe group! My very best friend made this popcorn for our family and we have been obsessed with it ever since! Not only is it amazing but it is ridiculously easy ... and so I decided to make it for my recipe group ... with me hosting this month I needed something simple yet amazing ... and so since this is all of that it was the winner! With that I present to you:

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Popcorn:

1 pkg microwave (no butter or salt) popcorn
1 pkg white chocolate chips
cinnamon sugar

Cook popcorn and pour into bowl (remove kernals). Slowly melt chocolate (I do this by 15 second increments in the microwave ... stirring each time). Pour melted chocolate over popcorn and spread out on a cookie sheet. Pour desired amount of cinnamon sugar mixture over popcorn (I do a lot!) 

Ok ... happy cooking everyone! have a super great night!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hot Topic Monday: Dramatic Conclusion to End All Fit throwing!

Hey everyone! So, it has arrived! Finally! We have reached the post that concludes our families of experiment with the abolition of fit throwing! I can't believe it! What was once supposed to be a month took two ... but the results were even better than I could have imagined!

Because lets be honest ... This face isn't a fun one:

/Es angry face ... lets get rid of it!
If you are just tuning in to this experiment I will summarize it for you (hence why I didn't do a big summarization yesterday):

E had a big problem ... she was (ok ... still is) a drama queen comes with the territory of being so amazingly all girl ... but with this and all its positives came negatives ... she was a fit thrower ... to the max (is that still a legit phrase?) ... it was even worse when she would get back from her moms house (which she goes to every other weekend) ... and so we had to find a way to deal with it ... to put an end to it ... as is I do not have as much patience as a "real" mom ... so we had to make changes ... I mean ... I would never murder a child ... but I may not have had my hair for very long as I would have most likely pulled it all out! So I sent out a cry for help on Facebook ... called for all the moms out there to help me come up with ways to lessen the amount of fits thrown  by lil miss E ... the response was amazing! So many of my friends had amazing ideas for me ... I mean ... I couldn't pick just one ... that't how good they were ... and so E and I set up an experiment. Our quest: to solve our fit problem ... our way to do it: take a week per and test out the different avenues provided by my dear friends, there were four, and we would try them all! E was fully informed each week before we started a new technique ... this was done in order to ensure that the experiment was not done to E but with E ... she is not a lab rat ... I would die if anyone thought that!

First was Ignoring ... this was provided by friends Karinne and Meredith ... E responded great to this technique ... until the second day ... but what I learned from my friend Kaitlyn is that this is to be expected ... It is knows as an "extinction burst" ... It will happen a few times before dying down ... yet it will only die down if you stick to your guns. Es outbursts died out ... but looking back ... having the information I have now ... I felt cold doing that! It was easy for me ... sometimes I still use this tactic when I hit the end of my rope ... but it was totally shutting her off from all attention (I know that is the point) ... but it now feels cold. I said before in my post about it that it seems to bring out a lot of her insecurities ... and after using the others I can now recognize how true this statement really was! I don't think that I will be using this technique anymore with E ... it's simplicity was desirable ... so were it's results ... but its affect that it had on E emotionally was not.

Second came sent to her room to calm down ... given by cute Laura ... this was an amazing way to deal with fits ... E gets her own time to calm down and I get the negative behavior away from me! It was great ... until E got smart ... She outsmarted me with this on more than one occasion ... most notably when we were cleaning the house and she intentionally threw a fit to be able to go up to her room to play. I think that this is most effective for younger children ... by giving a child a book as Laura suggested that they really enjoy will entice them to calm down. When Es fits were real during this week she really was able to calm down when she was in her room. However, I will stick to what I had said in the post previously written, this technique is most suited for toddler aged children.

Third was the ultimatum ... wonderful Amanda gave us this suggestion ... It was successful on multiple levels ... E would stop her fit when she didn't want to clean ... and my floors would get cleaned when she didn't want to stop her fit! win-win right! I think that I am going to save this technique in my back pocket ... I think that this will really come in handy when I have a moody pre-teen ... Fits will be different then ... but my house will still need to be cleaned ... and older kiddos may be more thorough ... yanno ... saving it for purely selfish reasons and not feeling bad about it at all! The only reason why I am saving it is because of the next technique that we tried ... which I will explain now

Finally was the "fit chart" ... this came from Elizabeth ... and is the one that will stick! Although E is only four she is somewhat fragile. As I have said before, I don't know how Es life was before she came to live with R and I ... We can only assume ... take guesses through conversations with her mom and with her ... I can say that I don't think that it has been the easiest. Part of me wonders if she may suffer from the genetic depression that her mother suffers from. That is why this method of fit control has been so beneficial for us ... we are not getting angry at bad behavior but rewarding good choices and behavior. What we did was we made a chart where E could put an "x" in a box every time she decided to stop throwing her fit ... when she received a certain amount of "x's" she got a gift. E did outsmart me in the beginning ... throwing fits to get to make an "x" on her chart ... but we adapted it ... made her have to stop throwing her fit and finish out her tasks in order to get an "x" ... and it has worked amazingly ... the only glitch is how many times she asks when she will get an "x" ... but that is worth it! This tactic keeps her self esteem high ... which is a big deal for us!

So ... basically ... we learned a lot these past two months ... again ... I give thanks to all of my dear friends who gave me all of these ideas ... here is what to take away from all of this:

  1. Ignoring is simple and effective ... yet can feel cold. If your child is totally secure in who they are this is a good way to go because of how simple and how effective it is (once you get away from the outbursts). If you notice that this starts to affect your child in negative ways I would disband it immediately for one of the others. 
  2. Sending a child to their room is great for toddler age kiddos ... when they are too young to take advantage of it! If you are ok with children throwing fake fit to get out of something ... then this is good ... I understand ... sometimes you just need a little space yourself and this allows it!
  3. Giving a child an ultimatum is a fantastic idea, especially for those who are older. Your house will stay clean ... and if it doesn't then that means that there are more happy times being had through less animosity in the home. Personally this one will constantly be in my back pocket!
  4. Having a "fit chart" promotes positive behavior. It is a wonderful way to build your children up rather than tear them down for poor behavior. It has helped E enormously! This is the one that I will endorse ... it is the choice that we are making in our family. This will be something that we will use forever ... not only with E but with our other children. I think that it is very important to build children up rather than tear down. As I keep saying ... this is the way to do it! 

Good luck parenting my friends! It is super difficult and there are so many ways to do it ...I hope that this provided some insight ... hope that it will make it easier! Good luck with all of your fit-throwing endeavors

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fit Throwing Be Gone ... Part Five (the fit chart)

It has been almost a month since my last fit throwing post ... I want to report on this and then do a summarization in a separate post. So briefly I will remind you what I have been working on ... over the past two months E and I have been on a quest to discover the best way to handle fits ... She was fully aware that we were doing this experiment ... she was told every week what we would be doing ... This past month we have been doing what we call a "fit chart" ... The reason it has taken so long to finish this final experiment is because of multiple reasons ... first ... the last one went of for two weeks ... whoops ... and second ... I wanted to wait until she got a gift before I posted again so I could understand how E would react after she actually got the gift.

Now ... First we started by drawing a fit chart on our white board (E loves white boards ... it made sense for us that we put her chart on there because she would really enjoy making an x in a box) ... here is what ours looked like:

No, it's not perfect ... but E loves it

As you can see we made a bunch of boxes ... I just drew how many I saw fit ... and then we drew little presents in some of the boxes ... the presents become more spaced out as time goes on ... this way she would really have to focus on her attitude. You should note that the presents ... unless you are able to afford something spectacular ... do not have to be huge ... E and I went to the dollar store to look for Christmas lights ... The little trinkets they have there were enough to get E excited ... so our gifts come from the dollar store ... we take her there to pick out her very own gift.

Now ... this fit chart is a fantastic idea ... E loves it ... she has something to look forward to if she shapes up her attitude. However ... there is a con ... there is always a con ... these aren't meant to be perfect ... they are just meant to help you make your decision as to how you will handle fits in your family. Anyway ... back to the con ... I learn more and more everyday that this little four year old has every capability to out-smart me ... and usually does ... E would start throwing a fit sometimes just so she could stop throwing her fit and get an x ... It took a little while for me to be able to tell between the two ... she is so sneaky ... So I had to adapt. Whenever E threw a fit I not only told her that she had to stop but that she had to finish out the task that was causing her fit in the first place ... example ... if she begins throwing a fit over what to wear that day I tell her that if she stops throwing her fit, gets dressed, and comes over so I can do her hair then she can get an x. It may seem like a lot but by adding these tasks ... most of which she will have already been doing ... it has enabled things to go smoother ... she will want an x and therefore she will do whatever she is asked in order to obtain it. Another thing about this is that E asks about the x's all the time ... she always wonders when she gets to put an x on again ... if you can handle that questioning (because I have not figured out a way to make it stop) ... on a daily basis ... then this is the fit solution for you!

What I learned these past couple of weeks:

  1. E really responded to this form of fit control ... she really looked forward to getting her gift and continues to look forward to the next one. I think that by giving children some kind of goal to work towards they are more apt to work their hardest in order to achieve it ... especially when that goal is a gift that they will get. 
  2. Every child is different therefore everything can be adapted. E may have learned fast about how to get x's ... but once I modified the way to get x's her fits became less frequent and she really had to work for an x when she did have a fit. I think that this not only showed E how to control her attitude but it also showed her how to work hard ... she can do hard things ... controlling her attitude to get an x is  hard thing ... and she can do it! 
  3. If you do not have the money to give your child a gift it is ok ... honestly ... a gift to your child could be a nice mommy/daddy date ... or ... something like getting to sleep overnight in a tent out back ... or in a fort in the living room! Don't worry if you can't afford the gift ... make something up! that might be better anyway!

oh my heck ... a week again

The holidays must have me scatter-brained or something ... I cannot seem to write on this dang thing ... oh wait ... I know what has happened ... I have been bitten by the bug ... the video game bug ... Last Saturday R got the new Assassin's Creed ... Normally I don't play video games ... not because I don't like them ... but because I will get addicted ... don't ask me why ... I just really like playing them ... and once I get playing one it becomes all I think about ... therefore I stay away (facebook, instagram, and blog-stalking are all the addiction I need right now) ... So ... this week ... I haven't stayed away ... every night I have made the conscious decision to play ... R thinks it's cute so he likes to watch me ... I get tuckered out by ten anyway these days. So I have played ... instead of written ... so sue me ... I will catch up now ... hello at least two posts ... maybe three!

So ... lets first do a catch up session ... a mini session ... so ... those of you who have seen me have commented about my glasses ... or lack thereof. When I saw my best friend on Thursday I told her the reason I haven't blogged about my eyes yet ... I haven't been brave enough ... I know what you are thinking ... how can someone who bears their soul about everything in their life not talk about the wellness of her eyes? Well ... the reason ... I don't want to sound like a complainer ... losing my sight is dang near the top of my list of biggest fears ... and apparently I could be headed that way ... but I digress ... I will start from the beginning ... I talked about the infiltrates (the white blood cell snowflakes) ... then the bumps on my eyes ... I talked about being stuck in glasses ... but what you haven't heard in the rest ... so here goes ... I went to the eye doctor for a third and final time last Wednesday ... everything was looking good as far as my infection went ... He was about to dilate my eyes for the exam (after he checked to see that everything was back to normal) ... but then he saw something ... He told me that he wanted to take a picture instead ... he told me that he would pay for it (yeaaa ... you know something is up when a doctor tells you he will pay for something) ... so he took the pictures and we went about the rest of the appointment ... at the very end he told me why he wanted to take those pictures ... apparently he is highly suspicious of me having crystals growing in my nerves ... ok .. so what does that mean ... apparently there is a pin hole where nerves pass through and connect to your brain ... my hole is mounded ... there also appears to be little white things inside my nerves ... these things ... if they are crystals ... hold the possibility of growing in a way that will sever my nerve and will cause me to lose my sight ... good ol' doc has ordered me to get an ultrasound on my eyes to see if his suspicious are correct ... here's the kicker ... even if his suspicions are correct there is nothing they can do about it ... the whole eye technology hasn't advanced enough to do anything about ... the best thing he would be able to do for me is give me an eye drop for glaucoma patients that strengthen the nerve ... then we pray that these crystals don't grow too much. So yea ... not scary ... well ... for me it is ... but what I really hate is complaining ... I know in this blog I talk about hard things (and some of it may sound complainy) ... but that is purely to help others in similar situations .. yanno ... get the word out ... maybe make it easier for someone. Either way ... I will just say that is ridiculous that I am falling apart at 24 years old ... especially my eyes ... I don't now how long I maintained it ... but for my whole life I have always said that my favorite thing about myself is my eyes. .

Ok ... away from complaining! Lets talk about happy things! The week went on as usual ... we built forts and played with makeup ... we gone to the library and been blessed enough that it has not snowed yet and so we got to play outside with our friends! We went down to Ogden on Thursday and made invitations to my dear semi-sister (my bff's little sister) baby shower (holy cow ... her baby bump is adorable!) ... and saw my wonderful father in law Kirk who had surgery on his knee on Monday! Yesterday was mega fun though ... We ... and I mean as whole family when I say we this time ... got the opportunity to go with our wonderful friends the Swopes down to see the lights on Temple Square ... LOVE! It was so much fun (we really missed you Deans family!) ... not only did we see the lights and go to City Creek ... but we rode the train to do it! I know I keep saying it ... but it was so much fun! First ... the Swopes are great company ... I never feel like we run out of things to talk about ... and they have a little girl a little younger that E ... so we all have people to chill with ... R was a little anti-social ... but only because he has been so ridiculously stressed at work these past couple of weeks ... his brain never functions quite right when he is stressed about work ... we still love him though!

R leaves on Tuesday for New York ... for ten days ... might as well be an eternity ... it is Suffolk county's go live ... usually R goes alone or with one other person ... this time there is five ... needless to say my New Yorkers didn't let me down in the temperament department ... This is a huge project for R and his company ... they specifically asked for R to come out ... and now he is the one they are yelling at ... it is all skeewompous ... stress ... I feel bad for him ... I was going to go with R for a week since this is such a long trip ... but I decided to do the responsible thing and stay ... E will be missing a lot of school when we go to Texas for Christmas (just wait for the recipes coming from the blog when we are there ... I have said my dad is a seriously amazing chef ... you will see) ... and so I decided to stay ... besides ... R will be so busy I will never see him ... he is expected to work until seven at night at the office and then after for things that need to be finished before the next day begins ... he will have no time ... and me being there ... I mean ... I will want to steal him away as often as I can ... I mean ... it is my very favorite place in the world ... Long Island and Manhattan ... love ... I will want to show him everything ... so we have decided that we will make a trip of it together ... that way he won't have to work ... he can meet both people from my moms side and my dads side ... and he can feel the amazing electric energy of the city! We will go somewhat soon ... so don't worry family ... we will be there!

And now ... I leave you with pictures to end this post:

I showed the makeup on facebook ... here is the hair that I did to go with it (after I discovered here)

Soccer player maybe?

Fort ... took up almost our entire living room ... when R is gone we plan on making it again and sleeping in it!


The conductor guy with no teeth let the girls see where they run the train

The girls got a set of seats all to themselves

R and I on the train

City Creek Mall

Girls with tired little legs can hop rides with their daddys! (unfortunately this is practically the only picture I got of the Swopes ... the profile of Jared ... friend fail!)

family in temple square

One more just for fun

This is just one tree ... holy cow ... can you imagine how long that would take?!?!

... I love to see the temple ... 

Girls waiting for the "crazy" train ... aka: the trax that takes us to the other train

This poor guy ... there were no other seats on the train ... the girls were barking like dogs and climbing over the table and asking to play his phone ... good birth control ... he was a good sport though ... and we adults sure got a good laugh out of it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hot Topic Monday: step mom dread

I experienced something yesterday ... something that I haven't experienced since the weeks before we got E permanently (when we already signed the papers and knew we were getting her) ... it was dread ... the kind that makes you hide under your sheets ... the kind that makes your body quake with fear and tears. I couldn't believe that I was feeling this again ... the anxiety before the impending arrival of the child. What brought it on? We have faithfully sent E to her moms house every other weekend since she has become a fixture in our everyday life ... I have felt the pull on the Sunday to stay on the couch instead of go get her ... but I have never felt anything this strong.

I think it was the number of days that she was with her mom ... four ... two extra days ... that was enough to cause me to crack ... well ... I believe I was already cracked ... not broken ... just fractured in places ... susceptible to dark days ... but fighting with all my might to never succumb to a dark day ... but two extra days held the ability to crack me just enough in just the right place to send me into a spiral of darkness last night (not the whole night ... but a great deal of it).

We were driving home from Rs sisters homecoming (remember ... the one who came home from a mission) ... and it hit me ... I had only one hour left ... one hour and that was the end of my life. I had felt like I had finally found myself again ... who I wanted to be ... living the life I wanted to live ... it made me think that it was attainable again ... not attainable in fifty years when the kids are out of the house and R has retired ... but attainable right now. I lost my words in the car ... the tears started ... I got the lump in my throat and then the tears started to just roll down my cheeks.

R asked what was wrong. How do you tell your loving, wonderful, amazing husband that the problem is that you are selfish ... that you don't want to be raising his precious daughter ... how do those words even cross your mind much less your lips ... you don't ... right ... well ... that would be the nice thing right ... to hold it inside knowing that it can't be changed ... save his feelings ... unfortunately I think I may lack a piece of my sensitivity chip ... I told him ... then I told him I didn't want to talk about it (my feeble attempt to preserve his feelings). When we got home we laid on the bed ... I cried ... I talked ... he rubbed my back ... played with my hair.

I just have to take a second to brag on the hubs ... how many men will let you cry on their shoulder while you tell them of this dread you have towards their daughter ... tell them that you teeter on the fine line between great and depression sometimes ... how many of you can do that and have them just hug you, rub your back, play with your hair, and tell you that it is ok to feel that way ... that you are justified ... that he is there with you ... that he will always be there with you ... no matter what ... when I crack a little too much he will take over ... I do believe that we have a love story on our hands ... better than the classics ... it's real.

What this pure and simple act of kindness ... by someone who it would be understandable to completely rebuff me ... helped me to realize is that there is a need for more words of encouragement out there for full time step mommies ... some virtual hugs that can be sent to you to help you feel more comforted ... let you know you aren't alone ... so here you go ... What to take away:

  1. You are not alone! No matter how alone you may feel ... you are not ... caring for a child is difficult ... when they are not blood relations of yours it can feel down right impossible. But there is always someone to talk to ... first try to talk to your spouse ... they may be more understanding then you think.. Second ... try going to a counselor ... I understand that there are many people out there that think that people like this are crazy ... but really ... there is something cathartic about being able to speak freely ... it is really just that that makes going to talk to someone worth it ... to hear your feelings just come out ... there is something about hearing them ... they shake you into realization and epiphanies. Lastly you can talk to me ... really ... I am in it ... I know what it feels like ... I understand ... and I love emails! 
  2. Drop the guilt! It is ok to feel what you are feeling ... especially if you are giving up a lot to keep your little family strong and together. If you don't feel the best ... if you dread the childs return ... if you feel like you can't hold it together anymore .. chances are you are constantly tormenting yourself because you know how horrible those feelings are ... you are probably wishing you never had those feelings. All of those things are ok to feel ... even the guilt ... but only for a moment ... try your hardest to just feel them ... like I have said before ... let your feelings course through you ... feel each and every one of them ... but then drop them ... drop that guilt. It is not bad to feel your feelings ... you are not expected to be perfect all the time (if you feel that pressure then you either need to have a serious talk with your spouse or you need to read my divorce posts) ... It is ok to recognize that you may have wanted something different out of life ... it is ok to feel angry or sad or depressed or happy or whatever feeling you may be feeling! so don't feel guilty about your feelings ... drop the guilt. 
  3. You are strong! So much stronger than you believe ... it takes a special kind of person to be a parent ... but i feel it takes more to be a full time step parent ... to give your everything to a child who doesn't share your DNA is an incredibly difficult feat. The bond that is forged between you has to be fought for ... blood, sweat, and tears all have to go into just forming some kind of bond ... it is not born unto you (not saying that there is an automatic bond with children born to parents ... but in most cases it is) ... the battle that you will go through to create that bond alone will cause you to be strengthened ... and the everyday journey that you will take ... well ... lets just say that you are strong ... you fight for that child when socially you don't have to ... go you!
  4. You are a good person! Unless you have decided to take the same road as Cinderellas step-mom (if you have ... please stop ... that is a child you are hurting) you can take comfort in knowing that you are a good person! You have agreed to take in a child that may not even be your responsibility in the first place ... heck ... they might not even like you ... but you have made the conscious decision to take this precious soul into your life and see that they get all they can out of life. You have put someone else ahead of you ... in fact ... by making this decision you have chosen to put many people ahead of you ... especially if what you want is in direct antithesis with it ... even if your head may fight it (like mine does) ... you are still making the decision to put them ahead of you ... because they are still in your house!
  5. You are loved! You may not feel it sometimes ... just like you may feel alone sometimes ... but I promise you  ... you are loved. Believe me ... your spouse loves you ... that is obvious ... not only do they love you because you are you and that is who they chose to marry ... but because you have allowed their child to live with you ... you have chosen to care for them ... your spouse sees that ... I promise you that ... they see it and it makes the love they have for you grow deeper and deeper. Heavenly Father loves you! Yes ... no matter how abandoned you may feel he is there ... he is seeing your struggle ... he is seeing your choices ... the choice to raise a child ... and he is just pouring his love down upon you! Remember the story of the footprints in the sand ... when times were hardest there were only one set of footprints ... not because he had left you ... but because it was here where he carried you. The child loves you! Regardless of how much they cry for their "real" parent ... regardless of how many times they say they hate you ... regardless of how many dirty looks you get a day ... that child loves you ... they may not recognize all you do now ... but in the end they will ... it will come around one day ... and you will be able to see the love that they have forged for you ... it may even come easier to them than it did to you ... children love completely ... almost perfectly ... you will feel that love too. 
Ok ... I really hope that this helped ... I hope that you can feel better about yourself and the decision you made ... I hope that you can hold your head up high and recognize how wonderful you really are ... even with the negative thoughts and feelings ... let them pass through you and replace them with good feelings ... you are worth the world my friend ... you should know it!

Have a good night ... good luck with your day tomorrow ... if you are anything like me ... you are going to need it! Goodnight!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Being Thankful after Thanksgiving

While sitting in Sacrament meeting today I was struck by something our speaker said. I don't even remember her name ... she is new to our ward (this ward has a habit of snatching you up to speak super quickly ... R and I lasted only three weeks before we were asked to speak) ... but she was asked to speak on being grateful.

The first thing that she said was that she was glad that it was after Thanksgiving that she was asked to speak on this topic. She then mentioned how she didn't go on facebook for the entire month of November because she didn't like how the entire month was full of people saying what they were grateful for, but once Thanksgiving was over they fell back into their "life sucks" mood.

This may be a little extreme but I totally get it. I still go on facebook ... I may be addicted ... but I think it is fun to read what everyone is thankful for ... I like feeling the gratitude in the air ... knowing that everyone is acknowledging their blessings ... hearing what people are grateful for helps me to see my blessings. But I do notice that when Thanksgiving is over we have a tendency to forget that even though life may be difficult we have been given so many things ... we have been blessed in so many ways.

While the huge influx of gratitude warms my heart ... I think that it is important to keep this surge going all year round. If we remember to be grateful throughout the year it will do so many things for us ...

  1. It will help us have a more positive outlook on life. When you are remembering to be grateful you are focusing on the good parts of your life ... this helps you to forget the bad ... hence you are looking at your life more positively!
  2. It helps you to be happier in your life. This one is obvious ... if you are focusing on the positive because you are seeing things everywhere to be grateful for ... then you are obviously going to be happier.
  3. It gets your more blessings! When you are showing Heavenly Father that you a grateful for what he has blessed you with he is more likely to pour down more blessings upon you. Remember the pride cycle ... when you lose you gratitude (especially towards Heavenly Father) you are likely to lose everything. When you recognize the blessings in your life (especially when you recognize that they come from Heavenly father) you are more apt to get more. 
There are so many good things that come out of being grateful ... why would we not be grateful all the time!

I have started to notice now that Thanksgiving is over that there have been more and more depressing posts on facebook ... I think that we should keep in mind that saying that keeps floating around pinterest ... What if we woke up with only the things we thanked Heavenly Father for the day before. That would be heavy ... I think I would be stuck with ... well ... I can't even remember ... probably only my family ... but that isn't such a bad thing ... what would if be like if I didn't say I was grateful for them ... I for sure could not live without them!

Well ... yanno what I say ... lets challenge ourselves ... me and whoever reads this blog ... to carry on this attitude of gratitude long past November ... You don't have to verbalize it ... nor do you have to broadcast it over your facebook or blog ... Just keep it in your hearts ... or in your prayers ... or in your minds ... when the day gets tough think of things that you are grateful for ... even if it is just your hair dryer ... or really just throughout the day at all ... think of what you are grateful for randomly throughout the day ... remind yourself that you have a great life because you have nail polish. 

I think that we do this we will be able to create a better environment for ourselves, our families, and quite possibly to community around you. 

Good luck my friends! Know that I am grateful for you! 

Update on the Combes ... has it really been a week?

Oh hey blogging community ... I'm back from my week long hiatus ... did you miss me? Who am I kidding ... or course you did!!!

So I should first do a catch up (since E still has yet to earn her first gift for her final fit throwing experiment ... cut some slack ... she was gone) ... It has been a whirl wind couple of weeks ... full of baking and family and nothingness.

Yanno what ... I don't even remember where I left off last time I blogged ... sheesh. I'll try my best to give you the highlights without overlapping what I have already told you.

So ... hmmmm ... Oh! So .. Es mom was unable to take her (Thanksgiving was her holiday to be with her mom) until Wednesday night ... That meant that since E didn't have ballet we were able to play the whole first part of the week ... and play we did! Look at E and R playing after he got home ...  I die:

Doesn't E look like a psycho killer ... love her

laughing ... not crying ... promise ... daddy was tickling her
We also got to meet our dear neighbors newest addition ... this is why we need a dog ... again ... I die:

Thanks so much Amanda and Emily for letting me get my fill of puppy-need for a day ... ok ... maybe it only satisfied me for the time I was there ... but one day our family will get there ... until then I hope you don't mind two frequent visitors to your humble abode.

Lucky for me I got to go on my first girl date since becoming a full time mommy ... and can I tell you ... It is probably something I will do much more frequently ... holy therapeutic ... holy fun! My dear wonderful old friend Karinne and I went for some hot cocoa and to a movie ... I just love her! Karinne, you should know that I love you! It is so easy to talk to you ... no matter how long we go without hanging out it always seems like yesterday when we finally get back together ... lets have a girl date again soon! P.S. if you are a full time stay at home mommy I highly suggest doing this if you don't already!

Thursday came and it was Thanksgiving! I have to say that this is one of my favorite holidays ... second only to fourth of July ... I'll explain that in July (people always look at me funny when I say that that is my favorite holiday). With Thanksgiving I love how people take the time to reflect on the blessings that they have in their life ... then Thanksgiving is usually with one of the most important blessings ever, family! This year Thanksgiving was spent with Rs dads family (remember we had our party with his moms side on Sunday) ... It was so fun ... I really do just love that family ... every last one of them ... they all make my heart happy! What has been even more fun is that Rs step sister Kaylee just got home from serving a full time mission for our church ... I may not have known her before ... well ... not too well ... but I have to say that getting to know her this week has been awesome! Kaylee ... you are an awesome amazing person and I am so glad that you are my sister in law! We are all so excited to have you home!

Not only did we get to see the combe-flints on Thursday ... but we also got to see them on Saturday and Sunday! Saturday was Bev's moms families ... phew ... annual breakfast ... yummy! Sunday was Kaylee's homecoming in church ... we had to leave a little early ... which was sad ... but we had to get home for our kiddo! Sadly I didn't get any pictures ... none ... at all ... sad ... I'll get better at taking pictures when the kiddo isn't present ... promise!

Oh! I didn't talk about Friday! Friday ... oh Friday ... it was like Heaven on earth ... we did nothing ... that't right ... nothing ... how many of you can say you did nothing? I bet very few of you! It was so glorious ... no obligations ... nothing planned ... nothing to do ... just a day full of nothingness ... I mean ... I don't mean to brag ... but there are so few days where you can just do nothing ... and I loved it. I was able to do things that I wanted to do ... I decorated my front porch (my only Christmas decorations of the year):

I  painted:

Not done ... not even close ... but it was so fun to paint!

I messed with some crazy make-up ... I'll save you from the pictures of that! Best of all I got to hang out with my hubby all day long! It has been so long since we have had a day just to us that I wouldn't change it for the world ... I didn't want it to end ... if I had a day that I could pull as a groundhog day I would make it this past Friday.

Anyway ... killer week right ... ha! Yeaaaaaa ... well ... it felt like it when we were in it!

Now we get to look forward to Christmas ... even better ... that we will be going to Texas to spend Christmas my my family ... three weeks and counting! I love the holiday season!

Ok ... well ... I think that this was enough word vomit for one night!

I think I am going to establish Monday as a hot topic day ... I have something else to talk about being a step-mom ... and hopefully by Tuesday E will have earned her present ... and so I can then finally finish my fit throwing experiment! So ... be prepared for that this week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Let's talk about divorce again ...

Before you read this post you need to know it gets better ... everyday is a day away ... everyday is a better day ... but that doesn't mean that it isn't an uphill battle.

When you are considering divorce you need to realize that there will always be a part of that person with you. I cannot put a word to it ... so I will describe it ... it is something you should be prepared for ...

R has E ... this little girl will eternally tie him to his ex-wife ... which means R will have to see the ex and talk to her quite a bit ... conversations that reminder him as to why they had to get a divorce. In some ways I would say that this is easier ... especially if you can establish some form of friendship or respect for the other person. But I have nothing that ties me to my ex-husband. Most people will look at this last statement and wonder how I could ever feel ... even for a second ... that I got the raw end of the deal ... but sometimes I do. What everyone should know about me now is that my glass is half full ... always ... what happened to me after my divorce was as time went on I began to forget the bad. When that happens the good things come flooding back ... I mean ... you loved this person once ... you pledged eternity with them ... you did some fun things together ... it was never all horrible ... there were good days. Imagine what that does to your soul ... you just left someone that only has good memories that correspond with them ... it rips your soul to shreds.

I took a marriage and family relations class with my ex-husband before we were married ... they warned us about this ... there is a special bond that is created between a husband and wife ... something sacred ... even when the relationship is dysfunctional ... and when that bond is broken you learn that it can never be fully broken.

If you are considering divorce please acknowledge this fact ... prepare yourself for it. Eventually what I had to do was write it all down ... from start to finish ... my marriage .. my divorce ... everything I could remember ... that was negative. It took me a long time to dig it out of me ... years ... almost literally taking my heart out and dissecting it ... trying to relive the bad so I knew why it was healthy and good for me to leave. It was hard ... it still is ... sometimes I still find myself romanticizing the good ... especially when it gets hard to swallow that I am a mother.

For a while you need to accept that you will think about your expired significant other once a day ... it took me around two years before I had a day that I didn't think about him in some way ... now it is just random times ... If you aren't a heartless person you will probably find yourself wondering how they are doing today ... curious because you really do wish them well ... it's ok to be curious ... but don't let it affect your life.

Along those lines you need to be prepared for the "flashes" (that's what I call them anyway) ... they used to happen a lot ... I would lose my breath ... I would see pictures in my head ... I think that I suffered a little PTSD from that last day ... R will tell you ... we couldn't play wrestle or play fight for over a year because about two minutes into it I would be screaming or crying at him to stop. These flashes don't just go away ... Three ... almost four ... years later I still suffer from them randomly ... the other night at recipe group one of my new friends was explaining how her hubby planned their wedding ... then I thought she called him Chris ... all of a sudden I couldn't breath ... I was back ... if only for a millisecond ... that's how my first wedding was ... I screamed inside ... and then it was gone. Or even the other day ... it lasted longer ... I was driving up fifth north ... the way I would drive home ... I had E in the back seat ... we were going to meet R on campus for lunch ... he was there for a conference ... as soon as I turned onto that road it hit me ... I couldn't breathe anymore ... I started to silently hyperventilate ... the world melted around me ... it was just me ... in my car ... driving ... I wanted to turn and run ... it lasted for a minute ... maybe two ... I lost track of time ... but it happened ... three and a half years later ... it happened. I know it will happen again ... it will probably happen for the rest of my life ... even if its just the general curiosity ... it happens ... be prepared.

What is worst are the songs ... I am a huge believer in the strength of music ... I know what it can do for someone. When I was divorcing my wonderful friend Jordy introduced me to the script ... and suddenly "Breakeven" was all over the radio ... every time I heard it I wished that that was what Christopher was thinking ... I heard it a lot ... then it started to peter off ... every time I heard it I would again and again be unable to breathe. Slow music has that effect on me too ... I have a Pandora station that plays nothing but slow ... and somewhat sad music ... sometimes you just need to feel those feelings. Katy Perry and Russel Brand's divorce was especially hard ... I don't know when it happened ... her breakup songs started to come out a couple of years ago ... meaning ... I was a year divorced and thinking that I was getting over everything ... then they hit me in the face. I still cry ... whenever one comes on ... sometimes they come on Es Alvin and the Chipmunks Pandora station ... I cry ... Her newest one ... Wide Awake ... posses the ability to shake me to the core ... every time. I think I enjoy feeling those feeling now ... when she talks about strength ... about this being the part you will never get ... about being awake ... that is what divorce was for me ... an awakening ... coming out of my depression coma ... that doesn't make it easy ... but it makes it worth it. I will say though ... I can honestly still not listen to country music ... I have some stations programed into my car ... they go untouched (did I ever mention that I was not allowed to listen to anything but country for then entire time I was married ... I didn't like country to begin with ... not I can't listen to it) ... shortly after my divorce I went to Vegas with my best friend and her little sister ... on the way back we listened to not even an hour of country ... it felt like the entire car ride ... one song felt like eternity ... but I tried to be strong ... told her I was ok to listen to it ... even tried to sing along ... I don't think she knew ... I wouldn't let her know ... that I silently cried in the back seat ... cannot handle it to this day.

I have just given you all the warnings about what will happen to your head, heart, and soul after you get divorce ... or maybe I have just scratched the surface ... I will have to search some more ... but I haven't really said anything positive. But, there is a positive ... it does get better ... you do stop thinking about your ex daily ... flashes are few and far between ... do I ever think that they will go away fully? Absolutely not ... because for however long that person was a part of you ... one with you ... because in a marriage you have to be at some point ... and the knowledge of that will never go away. No matter how hard you try to forget their name you will always know it. But it will get better.

Things to take away:
  1. If you have the opportunity to save your marriage, do it. I know that this sounds hypocritical coming from the divorcee  ... But Chris and I did everything that my twenty one year old brain thought we could ... counseling ... check ... talking to the bishop ... check ... talking to each other ... check. The only thing that we didn't do was try to improve ourselves. You should do that ... do everything you can ... things aren't fully broken until you decide to break them ... it is soul ripping to divorce ... if it could make a horcrux it would. (this all, of course, excludes abuse and multiple cheating)
  2. Be prepared for the storm that is going to come.Your heart, head, and soul have just been cut ... and not a clean cut either ... jagged and bleeding ... what else can you expect from divorce ... there will be flashes ... spells of hyperventilation ... simple words will set you off ... be prepared.
  3. Be prepared that if you have nothing that forces you to talk to your ex on a weekly basis that you may start to question your judgement. Write a list of negatives if you have to ... especially if your relationship was unhealthy ... it will feel like things are being ripped again ... but it will help. It helped me ... I was able to recognize that it was negative then set it all in a drawer ... if I needed a reminder it was there ... is there ... I know that I am a glass half full girl ... but sometimes you have to remember the bads in order to recognize the blessings you have now.
  4. Understand that you may have feelings or memories like this for the rest of your life ... but that they do not define you ... they do not control you ... you are in charge ... remember to recognize all the blessings that you have in your life currently ... because your life is filled with blessings. 
  5. Feel the feelings ... they will come ... feel them and then let them go ... it is healthy to feel feelings ... it helps me feel better to know exactly everything that is going on in my head and heart ... that way I don't just shove them down until they brew up so large that I end up in a padded cell hugging myself. Feel your feelings ... let them course through you ... they may only last a millisecond ... others may last a couple of minutes ... but always feel them and let them go.
Anyway ... I hope that this all helped at least one person ... have a fantastic night ... count your blessings ... love everyone ... and remember it gets better.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

little bit o' this ... little bit o' that ...

Oh hey ... again!

It has been a crazy busy week ... and I just have to share! First ... well ... I didn't put two and two together that this weekend really was this weekend ... and so I double booked ... actually triple booked ... our family for Sunday! My wonderful, amazing, sweet grandpa (on my daddy's side) is leaving Utah for five months ... yeouch ... but his wife Suzy is from Louisiana ... and I understand the need to go spend the holidays with your fam ... I mean ... I really can't even go three months anymore without seeing my mommy, daddy, and baby brother. But that doesn't mean that we won't miss grandpa ... so my sister was asked to plan a family party! She did ... I said I would go ... but what I didn't realize was that today was the 18th ... I had committed over a month ago to going to my mother-in-laws birthday/Thanksgiving hybrid (they will be leaving the day after Thanksgiving on a cruise ... I know ... I'm jealous too!) ... yea ... not to mention that we planned on having our primary class over earlier that day (I'll explain that later).

That was just our Sunday! The rest of the week was just as hectic. From school to ballet to the library to playing to making decorations ... It felt as if we were constantly going. E went over to grandma's house on Friday for a sleep-over ... R and I thought we were gonna get a super chill night ... which is what we find exciting now-a-days ... what ended up happening was I got food poisoning ... yay ... just what I wanted ... a night full of unappetizing bodily functions ... and so I won't expand on that ... just know it happened ... and it was so bad that I could barely move the next day. But I had to ... we had a practice for the primary program (again ... I'll expand later) ... We were going to hang out with our friends (which we had to cancel because I was just not up to socializing because of how tender my tummy still was) ... we had to go and set up for the party ... and I had to bake ... and bake ... and bake ... for six hours (maybe it would have been better to not cancel with our friends ... that meant I didn't get much sleep last night either ... instead I made cake, mini pumpkin pies, caramel apples, and sugar cookies). Needless to say I am exhausted (blame that if this blog is blah).

Since I did forget about wonderful KaeDawn's birthday ... well ... mistook it for another weekend ... I felt a need to make is up to her ... and so I decorated her house (the kitchen/dining room area)! I think it is worth a look ... and a pin ... because I think it looked great! Wanna see? here (your gonna want me to plan your next party ... I'll do it too ... contact me and I'll do it for free [minus supplies ... but you should know I did all of this for thirty dollars]):

Remembrance tree! We sneaked into their house earlier this week to find these fabulous pictures!

Caramel apples I made as party favors! 

I used the free printable from here for the banner.

kinda a look of the whole thing ... don't hate the picture momma K ... you look FABULOUS

table settings and centerpiece

close-up centerpiece

Centerpiece all lit up!

only shot I got of the food place ... sad day ... it was super whimsical and pretty ... we are going to use those lighted jars for our front door for Christmas decor ... since we aren't decorating the inside this year!
That was the party ... love! Happy birthday pretty mother-in-law! Because you were for my dear wonderful amazing husband was born ... and for that I will always be grateful ... I love you so very very very much and am so blessed to be your daughter in law.

Next ... I really want to talk about is how proud I am of all of my little kiddos! R and I teach the oldest children (aged 9-11 ... we have two 12 year olds because there is no class for them) in primary ... Primary is the Sunday school that we have for children in our church. I am proud of them for multiple reasons ... first we had the primary program today ... what that is is instead of having speakers in sacrament meeting (the first hour of church where we take the sacrament) we have the children up on the stand each saying a part! It is so phenomenal and spiritual ... the kids do great ... E had a part as well ... she did so great!! she was super nervous ... but she still did it ... and I am so proud of her! Our class sat in the front row and I was so amazed at how much of a good example they were for the younger ones behind them ... the were reverent and paid attention ... I always knew they had it in them!

The other reason I am proud of them is because of the good decisions that they make ... R and I are required to go once a month (well ... not required ... just suggested ... it's a goal) to visit all of our kids ... even the ones who are less active. Well ... before we even had our first visit with the kids we were just kinda talking about the less active that are in our class ... there they told us that they wanted to all go as a class to visit them ... well ... can you believe that ... it almost brought me to tears ... these children are so brave and so strong and so spiritual ... I am so grateful for the example they are in my life ... I cannot believe how much they love the gospel and how motivated they are to share it with the world ... to make sure that everyone is together in this! I love it!

And so we did it ... we sent out permission slips and invited the kiddos over to our house right after church ... we walked in the rain ... we crammed into cars ... we visited everyone who wasn't there today ... brought them cookies ... beaming faces shining for every person who opened the door ... sending love and good vibes straight through the entire house ... then we went back to our house ... ate homemade mac&cheese (I should have taken a picture ... it was fantastic ... every kid wanted seconds ... I'll have to give you the recipe) and sugar cookies (another recipe to come). It all may have only lasted an hour, but because of these kids it was one of the best hours I have ever had ... I seriously love them ... I mean ... just look at their cute faces:


funny ... love them!
Last ... but certainly not least ... I did it ... I took the plunge ... I dyed my hair ... dark ... chocolate ...  I have the most fabulous hairdresser ... she helped me make the decision ... not through worlds of pushing ... but words of encouragement ... and she was never without compliment when styling is (remember I am stuck in glasses ... so I could not see the entire hair appointment ... needless to say it was a shock when I was finally able to put my glasses back on) ... I needed it to sit for a couple days ... she how I liked it before I posted pictures ... electronically confirm that I am no longer blonde ... and well ... I must say ... I think I love it ... it is different ... I love being blonde ... but this is great too ... makes my eyes pop ... I don't have a great picture ... but this one will have to do:

I hate my glasses
let me know what you think ... because I love it!

Ok ... I think I am finally done for the night ... I will blog sometime this week about the fit throwing ... I want to get to where E gets a present ... I want to see how that changes things with this final trial ... It is going well though ... be excited for the final wrap!

Have a good night my friends ... it is bedtime for bonzos over here!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I think my ear officially fell off ...

Who knew little four year olds talk so much ... I mean ... I am sure that all of you moms out there are laughing at me ... I don't blame you ... I mean ... I am the owner of a living breathing human being ... no matter the size she is real ... believe me ... she has pinched me enough for me to know.

What I was not prepared for was how constant it is! I am seriously super surprised that I am still posses two functioning ears.

I am not saying that this is a bad thing ... because it is not ... I have learned a few tricks ... first ... her voice is one that I absolutely adore ... it is so quintessentially little girl ... and I love hearing it ... that makes it more bearable. Second ... I have learned how to tune it out ... don't freak out ... I still know when she is asking a question ... It's like selective hearing level boss ... not patting myself on the back ... but I think I am getting into this mom thing ... yanno ... getting the super powers that all moms have (believe me ... you have to have super powers in order to be a mom ... I think that since I still don't feel ready [or am fully willing] to be a mom I notice these things more ...they really help me).

Es talking has recently reached a constant level ... I'm thinking its been about only the last three weeks to a month ... holy moly bageezuz ... it is constant ... if its not talking to me or R it is singing ... or telling herself stories ... It is fantastic to see her amazing growth ... but I mean ... I don't think I have matured enough for this ... let me enlighten you ... When my bouncing adorable baby bro was around her age I remember his questions ... all the time ... about everything ... even during movies ... I remember getting angry at him a lot ... like ... lets watch and all find out together ... It is a good thing he was cute ... because man ... I cringed at every question! What is bad is I still find myself doing this ... I recently read that the average four year old asks upwards of 538 questions every day .... not gonna lie ... I believe it ... and I still find myself cringing ... at every questions ... Ill get over that sometime right??

My favorite thing to come out of this definitely has got to be our conversation right before I go to the bathroom ... this is not an exaggeration. I think it's rude when someone just leaves when I am talking ... so I try not to do that to E ... Ill bow out of the conversation (which we are almost always in) by telling her I need to use the restroom ... the question that always follows is "is it poo or pee" ... if I say pee then the response is this "oh good, you wont take long then" ... if I say poo she says "Ok, but try not to take to long because I have to ask (she uses ask instead of tell right now ... trying to break that habit) you something" ... I am not kidding you .... this is about 99.9% of the time when I have to use the bathroom in my own home ... sometimes I say I have to poo even if it is just pee because I need that extra thirty seconds of solitary quiet ... it has become like gold to me ... I am even considering waking up an hour earlier to do yoga so I can relish in this silence ... and for those of you who know me know how big of a deal that is ... I really love my sleep!

I should be learning to relish in E instead of relishing in silence ... this phase in her life will pass all to quickly and before we know it she will be a grumpy old teenager who says two words to her parents ... we will be begging and praying for her to speak! But it is so hard to see that right now! I'll get there ... I'll get there ...

So what I guess I am saying ... or, what we should take away:
  1. Sometimes it is ok to tune your children out ... as long as you are there to answer the important questions and to talk about the important things ... and as long as you are giving them the amount of attention they need ...
  2. Relish in the moments that you have right now ... they will be gone tomorrow
  3. It is ok to say you have to do a number two when really all it is is number one (I'm talking bodily functions here) ... especially when whatever is driving you to take just thirty extra seconds could potentially ruin the entire day (your attitude ... her attitude ... the sudden image of putting tape over your child's mouth pops into your head).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Martha ...

Dear all powerful party planning queen domestic genius Martha Stewart,

You are a fraud. That is all.

Someone who had very high hopes for your recipes and party inspirations

First, I must say that I have been planning a lot of parties as of late. One coming up is my fabulous mother-in-laws birthday/Thanksgiving hybrid (I'd like to see you pull that one off Marth), one from the past was my own wedding (pictures can be seen here). Now, when I plan parties I often peruse the glorious internet for ideas. It is no wonder why the Martha Stewart website pops up ... she does some amazingly beautiful things ... completely credit that tissue paper pom to her ... used it in my first wedding before it got popular ... However, what really stinks about stumbling upon this website is that very few people are millionaires and can afford throwing such an extravagant event for the birthday of their beloved cat.

Maybe I will set up a website that will be a "how to throw a Martha Stewart grade party on a normal person budget" ... I have adapted some of her more thriftless ideas and brought them down for a more thrifty spender (example: For my BFFs bridal shower I bought dollar store baby terra cotta pots [they came is packs of three ... two bucks for six ... no joke ... score], painted them white, stuffed them with pink tissue paper [as per her colors], and put babies breath in them ... Martha's idea consisted of super fancy mini white vases with white flowers ... hers would have cost upwards of 25 dollars ... mine cost five and looked just as cute if not cuter ... beat that)

But that is neither here nor there. I have always know that Martha likes to jack up prices for people throwing the party ... I mean ... I am not sure why ... she must just have super expensive taste with a pocket large enough to indulge in it ... but maybe that is obvious. However, party planning upgrade is not the reason why I  write this post ... it was her recipe ... this one here.

Looks fantastic doesn't it. What you should know is that I have never ever tried a Martha Stewart recipe before (maybe I shouldn't judge on just one recipe ... but it was such a disappointment) ... I had super high hopes for this one ... it was easy ... it was fast (literally ... fifteen minutes) ... it sounded so good. Then we sat down to eat it. I followed the recipe just as it was ... who was I to change such a perfected recipe from the queen of the kitchen? It came out looking good too ... like this:

Delicious right! Well .. then I tasted this masters recipe ... wow ... I was floored ... completely taken aback ... died ... it was not good ... edible (yea ... like I was going to cook something else ... we will choke this down) ... but not good.

I felt so personally affronted ... I thought that there was a different standard for someone as famous as her ... but no! I have tried so many new recipes that have been on random blogs ... they have all been so delicious that R continually licks his plate clean ... but this was not good! How could this happen ... someone who is meant to be so professional to have her own website, cookbooks, craft books, magazines, and even a television show ... a television show ... and she cannot master the art of a one pot pasta ... come on ... this is like cooking 101 ... what kind of person can feel good about standing behind what you do if you provide your audience with nothing but over-expensive, over-designed, and just plain gross things.

Shame on you Martha ... you should know better than that. Your style may be impeccable ... but your judgment is terrible ... and it is that judgement that makes you a sham (and that palette of yours ... I mean ... if you seriously think this recipe is worth promoting on your website).

And so ends my rant for the evening ... thank you for listening!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lasagna Rolls

Hola friends!

Tonight we had a fantastic dinner ... lasagna rolls! I Have never ever made homemade lasagna before ... I have heated up that Stouffers stuff ... which is pretty yummy ... but I have never made it from scratch. Even my daddy ... fabulous amazing chef that he is ... I can never remember him making lasagna (he makes ziti ... which I honestly thought he invented because out of everyone he cooked it for no one had ever heard of it when we were growing up [just a side note ... Olive Garden aint got nothin on my dad ... if you ever get the chance to taste his you will never be able to eat Olive Gardens again {I don't know how my sister does it} ... I'm going to post the recipe on here when I am down for Christmas ... when I get to take a picture of it ... we always make dad make it!]). Anyway ... so ... no lasagna ... but I have been noticing that lasagna rolls have been all the rage on pinterest as of late ... and I must admit they look so super delicious that I had to pin it ... not only pin it ... but try it! So that was our dinner!

Now, I wanted a classic lasagna roll ... and the Life as a Lofthouse blog provided that for me. It is super good! Tasted exactly like lasagna ... I will say that the cheese spread in the middle was a little bland ... I would add real garlic (two cloves) instead of garlic salt the next time make these. Anyhow, here is the recipe!

Lasagna Rolls: 

1/3 c. parmesan cheese
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 c. mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp parsley (I used fresh ... I think that helped a lot)
1/2 tsp onion powder (I honestly didn't have this ... so I used cumin ... but its such a small amount you can't taste it really)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I would substitute both powders and use two clove garlic, minced)
jar Prego spaghetti sauce (normal/medium size ... don't feel like getting up to see the ounces ... whoops)
1 lb ground beef (we used ground turkey)
9 lasagna noodles
1 c. mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix first seven ingredients, cover, and put into the fridge. Brown meat and then mix with sauce. Cook noodles. When cooked (usually takes about 8 minutes when being boiled) lay out on wax paper so they don't stick. Dump half the meat and sauce mixture into your baking dish. Spread cheese mixture into lasagna noodles, roll and put into baking dish. Dump the rest of the sauce over top of your noodles and top with cheese. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Hope you have a great evening! This will be my last post of the night, promise!

P.S. I know that my writing hasn't been on par as of late ... but I swear ... it is these stupid glasses! I don't know what it is! When I wear my glasses I am a slower thinker, and I am for sure not as smart ... I can't even think of ways to describe all the affects that it has on me ... ha ... all around I struggle when I wear these bad boys! Hopefully I will get out of them soon, I will find out on Wednesday!

Fit Throwing Be Gone ... Part Four (the ultimatum)

Since it has been so long I will start this one off with the same introduction that I have the others. E and I were having a massive problem with the amounts of fits thrown ... I needed something .... I turned to the moms of facebook for advice ... I came out with four very solid ideas ... but I still needed to try them to see which one worked for my little four year old. So we started an experiment ... E has been told at the start of every week what is going to happen ... so it is not like the experiment is being done to her ... it is being done with her. So far we have had pretty good success! These past two weeks (whoops ... we lost track of time) we have been giving E an ultimatum ... either she stop throwing her fit or she goes and does something awful (I used scrubbing the floor).

What happened with E these past two weeks was something different ... She didn't throw very many fits ... but she didn't seem to click either. When E comes back to us from her moms house usually something clicks ... she is back with us ... back in the routine ... emotionally ... physically ... mentally ... she clicks and it is back to business as usual. I can't fully explain what it was ... I don't think I even fully understand ... but something didn't click ... there was a distance these past two weeks. This distance seemed to prohibit a lot of fits ... but it also kept her far from us. It was so odd ... there is no real way to describe it ... maybe I really am making the transition to being a mom and can just feel these things now (that is a weird thought). 

Regardless ... there were fits and we were able to continue our experiment! I will say ... this one worked very well! 

E is like your average four year old ... loves making messes ... but she is unlike the average four year old because she loves cleaning house. I was nervous as we started this one because I didn't know if there would be anything horrible enough to deter her from continuing to throw her fit. What I came to find out was that it didn't matter! If E didn't stop throwing her fit I gave her a rag to scrub the floor (it may sound bad ... but the amount of hard floor that we have in our apartment is super minimal ... I mean ... don't call child protective services on me or anything) ... what this did for her was turn her mood upside down ... she started singing songs and called herself Cinderella (after ... of course ... at least five minutes of crying). I cannot say if this will happen to all children ... E really likes to clean ... she tends to be as OCD as I am when it comes to house cleanliness.

 There was this one day though ... seriously ... it's like a nightmare as I look back on it ... E was having one of her rough days ... where everything is miserable ... yup ... one of those. What I remember from that day is the sink stayed filled with floor cleaner all day. Her fits would stop long enough for me to say okay you don't have to clean the floor ... but would start up not even ten minutes later. I should have had her just clean the floor ... but she would stop that fit ... it would be another one that picked up after that one was done. I only made her scrub the floor once that day ... and man ... it was dreadful ... seriously ... dreadful. This girl scrubbed for twenty minutes before her fit was over ... screaming at me ... I could have swore I heard a swear in there ... but I cant be sure ... so I didn't get upset ... but seriously ... I don't think that anything would have worked that day. 

All in all It was a successful two weeks ... I got my floor cleaned twice ... the other times fits were deterred. Is this for everyone ... I would say no. Some parents have difficulty following through with "threats" ... that is a must to have this work ... or else you will just end up with a bunch of empty threats and a screaming child.

What I learned this week:

  1. You shouldn't feel guilty for having your kiddo clean one of your chores ... lets be honest ... take that break ... if you have a child who is going to be more turd than child take it as a bonus that at least you get your floors cleaned out of it. 
  2. Follow through with your threats ... as I said above ... if you don't do this then the child will have learned nothing and nothing will have been accomplished ... child will still be throwing a fit and mom will still be miserable. 
  3. Choose what you want to used based on your kiddo ... E likes cleaning ... so I shouldn't really have chosen cleaning. However, by choosing something with cleaning it allowed for her to get out of her funk (the time that wasn't the nightmare time). By providing E with something that wasn't necessarily fun but that wasn't terrible to her she was able to make the choice herself. This created a sense of independence ... she consciously made the decision each time I told her she could either stop throwing a fit or scrub the floor. Apparently (I was reading something on this is very important to four year olds. They like having control over their own lives ... over things that they have power over. This form of dealing with Es fit throwing gave her more control.
Next week E and I are venturing on a fit/yes chart ... I think that this one is going to be awesome! E is super excited about it too ... she is ready to get a present ... I think that this will cause super success with this upcoming week!

Ok ... good luck parenting my friends!