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!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Double Dates and Babies

Hey friends!

This is going to be another random post ... because there will be one directly to follow that will be my legit post ... I forgot fit throwing last week ... have to make up for it this week! But I honestly had to post on this fantastic weekend we had!

First we got to hang out with these two:

Anytime we get to hang out with my dear sister is awesome ... this time she met this guy halfway (which luckily happened to be Logan) for a date (he works on the railroad and was somewhere north of us for this eight day stint) ... they were so kind as to let us tag along!

We ate at Rs favorite restaurant Gaucho Grill ... a Brazilian Churrascaria ... much better than the critically acclaimed (at least in Utah) Rodizio Grill ... no joke ... the difference is between the two is the owners ... Rodizio's owner is an American who went to Brazil and brought the food back ... Gaucho Grill's owner is a deep south Brazilian who just brought the Gaucho culture and food up. It is seriously delicious! R served his mission in the Curitiba, Brazil. It is so fun to see the owner interact with R (he is also one of the servers), they speak Portuguese to each other and he just laughs and laughs when it takes R long to respond because it has been so many years since he has spoken the language! R says that this is the most authentic Brazilian food he has had outside of Utah ... we appreciate that it is only five minutes away from our front door!

Needless to say Friday was full of good food, good company, and a lot of laughs! We hope to see you again soon sis (you too Tyson ... thank you so much for all the laughs)!

Saturday didn't disappoint either ... R went paint balling in the morning meaning I got the entire morning to myself. I would be lying if I said I did anything more than hunker down on the couch and catch up on my guilty pleasure shows (hello Americas Next Top Model ... and a finally new Glee) ... but it has been so long since I have been able to do that ... I don't feel bad at all ... not even about my Cheetos stained fingers ... in fact it felt good ... real good.

What was most exciting was what came after ... we drove down to Layton to meet our newest little nephew ... can you say handsome?!?! I mean ... I die ... he is the cutest little boy I have ever seen! Normally, let's be honest, I don't think that babies are so cute ... sorry mommies ... maybe my view will change when I have my own peanut ... but there are a select few (I have babysat most of them) that are just super cute ... and little Nixon ... in his two day old state ... if one of the cutest! I should have gotten a picture of his lil face to prove it ... instead all I could think about was getting proof that I was holding this kid:

yup ... stuck in glasses

I know ... those of you who know me ... you are probably dying right now yourself ... I am hold a two day old babe ... normally I don't like to hold them until they are at least three months (just ask my other new niece Teanika ... I held her as a newborn for maybe a minute before freaking out and handing her back to mommy ... baby was crying ... do not like the feeling that I am going to break something so little ... three months is the earliest I like to hold babies) I had the same feelings with Nixon ... It took a lot of persuasion from mom and dad to get me to hold him ... but I am so glad I did! He was so skinny (unlike his cousins!) and so tall ... I mean ... he is for sure going to play basketball or somethings ... maybe go exactly the opposite way and play the piano ... he sure has the fingers for it ... just look:

I just die ... so cute! Congrats Janiel and Dillion for creating such an adorable and amazing little creature! I love him so much (and his awesome parents) already ... he will be spoiled by his aunt Amy that is for sure!

Finally we got to spend our Saturday night with these two:

What could be better? oh yes ... maybe this:

I just love every single last member of my family ... it makes my heart so happy to spend time with any person in it ... and I love that it is growing! The more family the better!

Ok ... have a great night ... it is late ... I think I might do my second blog tomorrow ... yanno ... the one about fit-throwing ... sorry people ... it is just getting too late ... I spent too long blog stalking rather than writing my blog ... whoops.... I'll catch up tomorrow! Have a fantabulous night and morning ... I'm going to go get some shut eye so I can keep up with E tomorrow!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I should blog ...

So ... I know that I should blog ... but I don't really want to ... I mean ... I love to write ... and I actually do have stuff to write about ... like ... totally didn't realize the week was over and so I didn't blog about my most recent fit throwing experiences and I actually didn't even start the new experiment for the new week! That may be good because I need to make a chart for my final week ... E is gone this weekend and R is going paint-balling Saturday morning so I might actually be able to get the chart done! Yes!

Or maybe I could talk about recipe group that I went to tonight ... which was AWESOME! Seriously ... I absolutely love those girls ... and the time I get to spend chatting and eating delicious food! I could even post my recipe on here ... ok ... should ... but I didn't even take a picture! When I get down to San Antonio for Christmas is when I will post it ... along with about a zillion others that come from my daddy's special secret recipe book (that's in his head because he goes on flavor ... yea ... that good) because ... hello ... my dad is practically the best chef in the world ... I kid not ... he is. So be excited for that!

Or maybe I should even blog about this new eye condition that I have ... forgot the name ...basically my eye got an infection two to three months ago and my eye is still acting as it it was there ... apparently I have white blood cells that have grouped together in multiple points in each eye (he described it as one of them looks like a snowflake) ... they have caused little raised bumps on my eyes ... he said that if one of them burst it could get a bug inside of it and the bug could eat the inside of my eye gone in two days ... yea ... fun ... apparently wearing my contacts could rub the bumps until they rupture ... so getting a bug to eat my eye out is completely possible (dang ... wasn't Halloween last week). So he put my eyes on steroids and forbid me to wear my contact ... I have had to do drops every two hours all day today and then transition to five times a day for the next week ... kill me ... I hate doing stupid drops in my eyes ... freaks me out. I also can't stand my glasses ... not to cutest ... but whatever ... I don't want bugs crawling around in my eyes making me blind! But this answers why it has looked looked like I have been on drugs the past three months (my eyes have been mega red) ... and hopefully it will take care of the super soreness that I have had. What worries me ... he said it was supposed to start feeling better basically immediately ... if it doesn't then I need to go in tomorrow ... they haven't been feeling better yet ... we will see.

Or I could blog tonight's dinner ... in which I was severely disappointed with Martha Stuart ... but it is worth a post ... and a rant ... maybe I'll do that sometime.

Ok ... ok ... I get it ... I have severely lacked with the whole blogging this week ... I just don't know where the week has gone .... have you ever had one of those weeks? Where it's Sunday and then you blink and it is all of a sudden late Thursday night? I am trying to look back on my week and I cannot remember how it went ... I mean ... Monday I had a hangover ... No, I don't drink ... you know that ... but I had a hangover from too much Novocaine ... no ... I didn't know that could happen either ... but man when that numbness wore off (which went all the way up to my eye and over to my ear) I had a massive headache (called mommy dearest and told her of my health trials this past little while and she laughed at me ... I mean ... I am only 24 ... she couldn't have been more right ... I need to get back to the gym)! couldn't believe it ... drugs are dumb (and wonderful ... I would never ever go to that devil of a place called the dentist without them). But other that that I cannot think of how dear ol E and I spent our week ... crazy right! I am sure you have all had that week!

Random fact ... I am sitting here watching cupcake wars as I blog and I no longer have the desire to open a cupcake shop ... just thought you should know.

Whelp ... have a great night my friends ... I promise that next week I will blog more consistently! Be safe out there my Loganite friends with the snow coming tomorrow!

P.S. I didn't go back and proofread this like I usually do (or have R do [those are the days with the most mistakes ... ha!] ) so I apologize for the grammar and spelling mistakes that are inevitably there ... I'm starting to get tired and R is playing his MoH game. So deal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Election ... and to help get off that subject I present: Chicken Ranch Tacos

Oh hey everyone! So ... I am refusing to talk about the election ... maybe I shouldn't refuse ... it is not like I am mad about the outcome (mostly) ... I am not going to scream and yell that the world is ending ... do I think that America is in for a wild ride ... quite possibly ... not because I think Obama is a bad guy ... I'm just not on his side for a lot of issues (before you yell and scream that I am not for "love for everyone" get off my back ... I'm absolutely not going to talk about that ... give me the benefit of the doubt before you judge me). This is not to say that I was 100% for Romney either ... because I'm not ... when I took that dang questionnaire that was floating around facebook where you answered questions about the issues at hand I was only 78% for Romney ... that may seem like a lot to some people ... but for me it isn't ... I was surprised ... I thought I was Republican through and through ... turns out I'm not. From there I decided to research the issues (no ... I am still not the most informed voter there could be) ... and this is what I have deduced that I stand for (I am sorry in advance if I offend anyone ... but this is a country of free speech) ... I believe that people should work hard for what they get ... to not be given things because life gets "hard" ... I may be upset at the 1% from time to time ... but that is because I am jealous ... I know that they have worked hard for what they have gotten ... I know that if R and I weather this financial storm and our situation in life that we can become part of the 1% ... because that is what being a part of America is ... we can all succeed if we work hard enough ... therefore ... I believe in hard work. I believe that America is one of the strongest countries out there and that we should remain that way ... if we are going to help other countries we should get something out of it ... trade ... if we ... as America ... are to slip from being a 1st world country (apparently because we are bullies) then who will be there to help countries ... who will be there to help us ... just because we will no longer have nuclear weapons (which in a way I support ...) there is no way that other countries won't ... if we slip in strength how will that eventually affect our own people ... therefore ... I believe in the strength of America.

Wow ... I really didn't want to speak on politics ... but I did ... ha! I guess I will conclude with what I said on Facebook tonight ... "I may not have voted the way the election went ... But I know that Heavenly Father is at the helm ... I place my faith in him ... I am grateful for this country ... I am grateful for the fullness of the gospel ... I am grateful for the knowledge that everything will work out the way it is supposed to ... Have hope and faith my friends ... Heavenly Father has got your back :)" ... And that my friends ... is how I really feel about the outcome of this election!

Onto what I really wanted to blog about tonight ... food!!!

I stumbled upon this delicious sounding recipe on none other that pinterest ... the link to to actual website is here ... When I looked onto the blog that had this recipe I was shocked that it was different from what was posted on ... usually I will go to the website and pin the pin myself ... but with my phone I have started just repinning things ... and I am so glad that I did that with this new recipe ... it was so tender and juicy and tasted so good! Here it is for you:

Chicken Ranch Tacos:

4-6 chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg dry ranch dressing
favorite taco toppings (lettuce, cheese, olives, beans, etc.)

Put all ingredients (except toppings) in crock pot and cook (4-6 hrs low ... 6-8 hrs high). Thirty minutes before dinner take chicken out of crock pot and shred. Put chicken back in crock pot for those final thirty minutes. Serve on tortillas with your favorite taco toppings (we did ranch dressing, lettuce, cheddar cheese and black olives). Enjoy!

Easy! Love it!

Ok friends ... have a fantastic night!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Summer Salsa

This summer my mommy, sister, and I traveled to my favorite place in the entire world ... New York ... I have a lot of family on Long Island ... One of my very beautiful cousins was getting married. When we were there My sister introduced all of us (aunt, cousins, and us) to her creation of Summer salsa ... super delicious ... not like regular salsa that heats up your mouth and belly, this salsa is cool and refreshing ... just what we needed to beat the humidity (that and a very amazing pool provided by a very amazing aunt) ... I don't know what it was about this past weekend ... be it the devastation from hurricane Sandy ... or the anxiety and worry I felt for my family back there (and my best friend ... who happened to be visiting there ... and is still stuck there) ... or just because I miss that place on a daily basis ... but I started craving some New York summer salsa.

And so I made it ... and posted a picture on Instagram because it is soooo colorful and delicious ... and I got a request from an old friend for the recipe ... and I realized that not only for the wonderful AmyAnn did I need to post this recipe ... but to show my support and encouragement for New York ... it has just been devastated by a stupid hurricane ... but the people of New York are amazing and resilient and will come back bigger and stronger than ever! And so to honor New York and show the many city, towns, and people my love and support here is the summer salsa recipe (you will just die at how easy this is):

Summer Salsa:

1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 red onion (if you like a sweeter taste do a white onion)
Newmans Own brand Italian dressing (trust me)

Cut up pepper and onion as small as you like (remember it is salsa ... so really small is best). Add dressing to taste.

Seriously ... that is it ... and you will just die at the taste of it ... delicious ... refreshing ... and super duper easy!

About the Italian dressing ... it really needs to be the Newmans Own brand ... I have tried other brands ... its ok ... but never as good as Newmans Own ... like ... not even close ... not even on the same planet of taste ... that is how important it is to get Newmans Own Italian dressing (not the creamy kind either).

Have a great night! I think that two posts is enough for one night!

Give Thanks Door Hanger

Yesterday I was bored ... and you all know what that means ... craft time! I have been meaning to make this for a while ... and my dear friend Amanda told me I could use her jigsaw ... but as always I decided to put it off until the very last minute ... aka: the day after Halloween when I have to take down my boo sign ... however ... regardless of the time I spent not making it and procrastinating I think it turned out rather smashing:

sorry the picture is a little lopsided
What I am super excited about with this is that it is my own creation ... I haven't come across anything like it on pinterest or etsy ... aside from that I was able to do it totally free! This was made with scraps that I have had sitting around for a while ... since my last wreath I made (did I show that one? the one with the flowers?). The final great thing about this is that it doesn't take that long to make either! With the right tools it can be made in about one hour ... maybe an hour and a half ... no joke. Ok ... ok ... I'll stop patting my own back ... here is how to make it!

What you need:
  • Burlap
  • Canvas
  • Board from pallet 
  • Twine
  • Hot glue
  • Wire
  • Paint
  • Pen
  • Drill
First what you wanna do is find just the right board to fit your needs ... I wanted a more vintage look so I went with a board from a pallet that I had previously chopped up to make the welcome sign for our wedding. When you get your board is when you can measure the flags.

I used just plain lined paper to make a stencil of the size of flag I wanted (I tend to not be patient enough to figure out the math [everyone already knows I uber suck at math] to make the flags perfect ... I just put a piece of paper on the board and eyeballed it). From there I took the stencil and traced it onto both the canvas and burlap:

You'll notice that I didn't trace directly around the stencil ... I left about a millimeter on all sides ... I did this because I knew my lines weren't perfect and so this allowed for the ability to correct ... it also ensured that no matter what side the writing would be there would be no pen marks. Anyway ... after all of your flags are cut out you want to line your flags up on your board:

Doing this you are able to mark your board exactly where you want it cut (it is best to use one long board and cut it then everything will be the same width). The next couple steps can be done in any order ... Seeing as how we went over to my in-laws for the tools, what I did first was paint the letters on my flags.  I wanted my flags to say "give thanks" in honor of Thanksgiving coming up! I also decided to write my letters in cursive in honor of the flags at our wedding. Now ... it would be much easier and probably prettier if you used a stencil ... but I was too cheap to go buy one ... and so I free-handed it:

At this point I was still tool-less and so I decided to make some rosettes to go in a couple corners of the sign ... unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of doing that ... so ... um ... if you want I will happily do that tutorial later ... just lemmie know!

Back again ... R finally got home from work and we were finally able to go over to the in-laws (Thanks for offering your jigsaw Amanda! I just didn't trust myself to make a straight cut and Greg has a chop saw[thank you so much for letting me us it!]!) It was time to cut the board:

I made two cuts to make both pieces the perfect size! From there I laid the two pieces on a flat surface in the way I eventually wanted them to hang so I was able to make marks as to where I needed holes for the wire:

from there I used one of these huge drill thingys (you can also use a hand drill ... I don't know very many people who have one of these bad boys) to drill the holes:

This is the kind of wire I used ... I don't know the measurements for it ... It was what my very gracious father-in-law let me steal from him:

Next, Thread the wire through the holes:

Secure by using pliers and twisting:

I twisted the excess wire around a pencil ... you can do what you like with it though:

Next I punched holes in the canvas flags (the burlap ones just needed one or two lines cut) with this thingy-ma-giger (it gave just the right size hole ... thanks to my mother in law who let me borrow it from her craft room):

Thread the twine through these holes:

When I got the flags in the right place on the twine I put a glob of hot glue to keep in it place ... it is going to be outside:

Next thread the twine through the holes (the top board I used the same holes as the wire to hang it ... the bottom board has its own holes for the twine) and then tie a knot in the twine and put hot glue over it (again ... it will be outside and it needs to be secure):

Finally hot glue on the rosettes, hang when dry and viola! A beautiful new piece to hang on your front door (or anywhere you want!):

Don't you just love it! Enjoy making it!