Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

We had an awesome Easter Sunday and hope you did, too! Here is a glimpse:

 That dude in the top left pic is still fighting his kidney stone, but he managed to get dressed up and go to church with us. Love him!

There are two people missing in the pics above. One is this guy (on the left), serving up in Eastern Washington:

A HUGE shout out to the family who fed him a great Easter dinner yesterday and then sent me this pic. That is the way to his mother's heart for sure.

The other person? He's in some of the pics we took and he fits right in with our family, but I don't know yet how he would feel about ending up on my blog.  All in good time! :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Suck it up, buttercup.

That's a quote that was posted on the side of the road during one of Nicole's half-marathons. It's a favorite of mine because it's true. And today it's my mantra.

Kidney stone prescriptions. Fun stuff.
Over this last week to ten days, I've been not sleeping well. I fall asleep fine, but then I wake up and my mind gets racing and then I just lay there for hours.  I like my sleep. I need my sleep. So this has been frustrating.

Night before last, I got a whole two hours of sleep, and I was exhausted by 3:00 pm yesterday. Oh yes, I tried to take a nap, but I was at that point where I was too exhausted to sleep. I figured that I was going to self-medicate with a couple of Benadryl and hope that I could stay asleep all night. But when I went to bed, I thought for some reason that I should not do that, but take a little melatonin instead, so that's what I did. I call that inspiration, because had I taken two Benadryl (one can knock me out) I would have been useless when my hubby needed me.

At 2:00 am I was woken by my hubby, who was at first tossing around hard on the bed, then he started getting up and walking through the house. After a few minutes of this I asked him what the problem was. "I've got a bad pain in my left side and it hurts to lay down so I'm trying to walk it out," he said. Within five minutes, the pain was worse, so that he was really complaining about it, and he does not complain about stuff, so I knew it was bad. He begged, "Please get dressed and take me in somewhere." That meant a visit to the ER.

Fast forward four hours, a CT scan and numerous shots of narcotics later, and we knew what it was: a big ol' kidney stone, with a smaller one behind it. I've heard how horrible kidney stone pain is, and if you've heard it but not experienced it, just know it isn't a lie. It was not fun for him, poor guy!

So I'm running on a whopping 6 hours of sleep over the last 48 hours, but hey, I'm not the one having to pass a large kidney stone. There isn't anything else to do but suck it up--and pray for a quiet night tonight and a quick passing of that stone!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rhubarb Cake

It's about that time of year again: when the rhubarb plant my husband transplanted from his grandma's yard to ours is in full production mode. That means tons and tons of rhubarb! This cake is one good way to use some of it. It has a very tender crumb and is moist and delicious. It's good as is, or topped with a little whipped cream.

Rhubarb Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 cup buttermilk (or soured milk made by putting 2 t. lemon juice in the bottom of the 1 cup measure and adding milk to the top. Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes.)
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. sliced rhubarb, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

1/4 c. sugar
3/4 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with pan spray. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar together well, until light and fluffy. This should take about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat well. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix well. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk, and the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix well between each addition. Fold in the sliced rhubarb. Spread batter evenly in the pan. For topping, mix the sugar and cinnamon together thoroughly. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nothing is impossible because of Him

Happy Easter week!

I feel like I have sooo much to be grateful for lately (more on that later), and this is at the top of the list. How blessed we are to have a Savior who knows us and loves us individually! #BecauseofHim, we can start over. Again and again. So much is possible because of Him! I know it's true. Go here for more about what Mormons believe about Easter.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Must try: Sally Hansen Ultra Wear Top Coat


Today I have a review of Sally Hansen's new Comple Salon Manicure Ultra Wear Top Coat (completely my own opinion--no sponsorship of any kind).

Not too long ago, I posted about my experiment with  DIY Gel nails using Gelous. That stuff is okay, but you know what? Sally Hansen's Ultra Wear Top Coat is better. As in, days worth of wear better. I got four days of wear out of the Gelous Advanced Gel Coat before the chipping was just too much.

Now take a look at the pic above. You can see minimal chipping of my nails, and this is seven days of wear. Mind you, I'm cooking, I'm cleaning, and I even put on some work gloves a few days back and pulled some weeds in my garden. I am not easy on my nails, that's for sure. So for approximately $6, you get pretty darn good results!

In the pic above, I'm wearing Pure Ice nail polish in Tickle Me Pink under the Ultra Wear.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What I learned this weekend.

Howdy, friends.

This weekend was LDS General Conference (#LDSConf) and it was awesome. What is General Conference? It is a series of 7 meetings, each two hours long, over a period of two days. It happens every first weekend in April, and every first weekend in October. What is talked about? Jesus Christ and His gospel. How we can follow Him. How we can emulate Him. How we can be better people.

It is edifying, uplifting and positive. And yes, Mormons are Christians.

Today I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes from this weekend's conference. There are lots of great ones out there, just check Pinterest....but these quotes are from my own note-taking, the things that stuck out to me personally.

Christ-like love is the greatest need we have on this planet. ~Jeffrey R. Holland
The best filter is the personal filter of a deep and abiding testimony. ~ Linda S. Reeves
Families are the treasure of heaven. ~Neil L. Andersen
 If blessings were immediate, choosing the right would not build faith. ~Henry B. Eyring
Obedience prepared the Savior to endure to the end on Golgotha. ~Robert D. Hales

There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, and even glorious--be grateful! ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Heavenly Father accomplishes his miracles one prayer at a time, one person at a time. ~ Jean A. Stevens

The Savior has known and felt ALL our individual burdens. 
~David A. Bednar

No sacrifice is too great to receive the blessings of the temple. ~ William R. Walker 

Christ's resurrection from the dead ended the great human predicament. Now there is only personal predicament. 
 ~ D. Todd Christopherson

 Did you listen/watch General Conference? Share your favorite quote in the comments.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

After five days of eating out it's nice to come home and have a home cooked meal, even though the eating out is fun while it lasts. Part of this mom's vacation is a vacation from cooking.

This recipe is a favorite that I always seem to forget about. Don't ask me how that works....I just know that every so often when I'm trying to figure out what to have for dinner, I'll suddenly remember, "CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE!" Capitals, exclamation point and all. And every time I remember to make it, everyone loves it. Maybe they love it because I don't cook it too often? Whatever the reason, it's always a hit!

Chicken Broccoli Casserole
serves 4-6

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 10 oz. bag frozen chopped broccoli
1 10 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 t. prepared Dijon mustard
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray an 8x11 baking dish with cooking spray. Put the chopped broccoli in the bottom of the dish. Top with diced chicken. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soup, mayonnaise and Dijon until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Spoon mixture over top of chicken and spread to evenly cover. Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Top with remaining cup of shredded cheese and bake five more minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Break Southern Utah Style

Last week was Spring Break in these parts. We decided to take off and enjoy the beauties of Southern Utah. Everyone in our family just loves being around the red rocks. Something about a red rock landscape is soothing to my soul.

All of the following pics were shot by me in and around Zion National Park. 

There are plants and flowers that manage to thrive in this environment. What a life lesson!

We hiked from the road at the bottom of this pic, up to where I took this shot. It wasn't easy, and coming back down was harder on my knee than going up, but with a vista like this, it was worth it!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recipe Fail {a baking lesson in moisture vs. structure}

With all the recipes I post on my blog, I wouldn't want anyone to think I never mess contraire. There are plenty of things I make that no one likes, or a few of us like, or they just aren't pretty. Case in point:

This is a Chocolate Chocolate Chip bundt cake I was making for after the first LDS General Women's Meeting this Saturday. I thought I should try it out early, and lemme tell you, it was a good idea. Because this cake definitely did not turn out. It tastes pretty good, but no one is going to want to eat a cake that looks like this!

Sometimes I mess up a recipe, and other times I think the recipe needs tweaking. In this case, the recipe definitely needs a little bit of help so that the cake can support its own weight. Here's what happened and how I plan to fix it.

First off, the cake needed five minutes extra to bake, and then while it cooled it started sinking into itself. When I tried to turn it out of the pan....well, you can see what happened then. This is one of those recipes that has 4 eggs, a lot of oil, pudding mix AND sour cream. The final result was almost soggy it was so moist, and no one wants soggy cake! So my amateurish baking intuition tells me that one, there is too much moisture in this cake and two, not enough structure (flour) to hold it up. The plan for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt cake #2 is to cut out one egg, cut the oil from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup, and add 1/4-1/2 cup of flour, and I think that'll do the trick. I may also cut the sour cream in half, from 8 ounces to 4. If these changes don't work, I'll be going back to the store for more  ingredients for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt cake #3! Wish me luck....

Monday, March 24, 2014

Looks like.....a game of I Spy?

To help me blog, I try to remember to take pics of stuff (food, books I read, stuff I/my kids do) throughout the week. Then when I get ready to write a post I get my phone and check to see what pics I've taken before I decide what to write about. Sometimes I plan ahead.....other times, not so much. Taking and keeping pics helps keep me inspired. 

This morning I opened up my pics to find a couple of funny shots that I had nothing to do with, but they inspired me just the same.

 Love the wild look in her eye. Mia, ever the actress.

Evidently, she's spying on her little sister. I have no idea where I was. If Broadway doesn't pan out, she could probably put these skills to use.

Thanks to Mia for the fun surprise!