Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! ~ or My, how time flies.

This is Nicole at 2 years old, wearing Grandma's little witch costume. I can't believe how time flies. (And her cute little cousins are also all grown up now--one with a baby on the way!)

I've been wondering this morning how it is that I only have two of my kids left in the annual elementary school Halloween Parade?! I mean, really? It seems like yesterday that my Nicole was Grandma's little witch, or five years old and wearing the Pink Power Ranger costume she wanted me to make for her. Now she doesn't even live here!

Well, I still had fun with Libby and Mia this morning. Libby's little "Chinese girl dress" was found on one of mine and Jeff's visits to the DI. We thought she would love it, and she does. Add a black wig and some makeup, and she was thinking that her BFF won't even recognize her. Mia makes an awesome clown! First time I've done clown makeup...first time one of my kids wanted to be one...but she turned out fantastic. The glasses, bow tie and gloves were all Dollar Tree finds. Add a crazy flowered shirt, also from the DI, and my rainbow striped knee-high socks & Sarah's old pink converse, and we had a hit. Mia did her "crazy hair pigtails" by herself. Incidentally, this pic above is the one they wanted with "crazy faces."

My kids always tell me I'm no fun at Halloween cause I "never" dress up. But I'm here to dispel that rumor. Once in awhile, I do have fun on Halloween...or else Jeff has enough for the both of us. Behold exhibit A:

This is from Halloween 2009. I dubbed it "me and my boyfriend with hair." I had more hair then, too....although mine is real. (ha!) Exhibit B:

Also from Halloween 2009. The year we went to an adult Halloween party. I'm the hunter and I got my trophy, yes I did.

Happy Halloween! Stay safe and don't raid (too much) of the candy supply before the trick-or-treaters come. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pillow talk

Don't worry. This pillow talk is family-friendly. And it involves tigers.

Pic taken during our last visit to the zoo.
As I talked about here, Jeff always gets in bed before me. Last night I went in about 10 pm as usual, and he was in bed but still awake. The World Series had just ended.

Me: You're still awake.

Jeff: I was watching the World Series.

Me: Is it over?

Jeff: Yes.

Me: Like, totally over?

Jeff: Yes.

Me: Who won?

Jeff: The Giants.

Me: Who did they beat?

Jeff: You don't know who was playing??

Me: (smiling) No.

Jeff: Guess.

Me: Ummm, the Mets?

Jeff: (smiling) No.

Me: Ummm, the Yankees?

Jeff: (smiling more) No.

Me: The A's?

Jeff: Nope.

Me: I'm running out of teams! The Cardinals? The Red Sox?

Jeff: (laughing now) No!

Me: Orioles! Mariners! 

By this time, Jake had come in and was also enjoying the fact that his mom had no idea who was playing in the World Series. (So I happen to dislike baseball. It's not a crime). Being the sweet, loving son that he (usually) is, he gave me a hint.

Jake: Mom, they come from the land of cars.

Mom: (thinking fast) Detroit!

Jeff: (smiling) Detroit what??

Mom: Well, I know it's not the Pistons 'cause they're NBA.

Right then, the post-game show came on, so I looked over at the tv and waited to see the name of the teams.

Me: Aha! Tigers! (Thank you FOX TV, for saving my butt.)

Jake: So, Mom. Who is Detroit's football team??

Me: (thinking fast...thinking animals) Lions!

Jake: Way to go, Mom. (high five)

I managed to redeem myself a little with that one. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Witches' hats and broomsticks

The other day I came home to a sweeet surprise. Namely, witches hats and broomsticks.

One of my awesome neighbors brought them over, and they were yummy, but they were so cute that I was tempted to not eat them. I don't know where the idea originated from, but they seem pretty simple to put together.

A pretzel stick inserted into a mini Reese's peanut butter cup makes a broomstick. The witches' hats looked like an upside down fudge stripe cookie, with a Hershey's Kiss on top. The orange icing tasted like butter cream and was yummo. I think the stripey "Hugs" Kisses are especially cute.

Any moms out there who are helping with class Halloween parties could either make these for the kids, or let the kids make them for a craft. Edible crafts are the best kind, of course.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beware of toasters.

This has been one heck of a day so far. And yeah, it's not even noon yet.

To start off, I won a $100 Amazon gift card. So grateful!! It will definitely come in handy, too. After that, the day took a turn. This is where the toaster comes in.


That's a cut from the top of my thumb to the knuckle, courtesy of the sharp steel lip on the inside of my toaster. I grabbed it from the top to lift it out of my cabinet, and my thumb just happened to grab at the wrong spot. I knew immediately it wasn't good. And it ached like the devil!

Thankfully, the doctor was able to take me in right away so I didn't have to go to Instacare and pay more. Also thankfully, he decided to give me a digital block before even pulling the cut open to really see exactly how deep it was. This is my thumb after the block. Fat and gross looking, but numb alright.

It was pretty darn deep, into the muscle. So six stitches later, this is how it looks now. I have to keep this bandage on for a couple of days.

Another good thing is that Jeff was home and able to drive me to the doctor's office. It's snowy today, and on the turn into the office parking lot, the car slid, went up a curb, and just stopped immediately in front of a tree. So that definitely could have been worse. And I'm really grateful we didn't hit that tree or the cars on the other side of it!

So beware of toasters. I will definitely be changing how I grab hold of my toaster from now on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Get crafty with...chestnuts. Really.


Every Monday I go for a walk with a certain friend of mine. (Walks with friends are like free therapy!)

This is the time of year when my friend likes to pick up chestnuts from the only chestnut tree around here that I know of. The owner of the tree hates them littering the ground, so she is happy to see them go.

Last couple of weeks were chestnut weeks. This year I thought, why not? And picked up some of my own. If anything, I figured I'd use them for decoration at Thanksgiving.

But I wondered. Are these chestnuts you can roast? Can you eat them? I had no idea, so I Googled it.

Turns out these particular chestnuts are Horse Chestnuts. NOT edible. I admit I'm a little disappointed that I can't be extra cool at Christmas and sing "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." while actually roasting chestnuts on an open fire.

At least the original plan of putting them on my Thanksgiving table is a go. And look at these cute ideas I found for chestnut crafts:


Cute animal pencil toppers from Fun Family Crafts.



Dang cute little Chestnut Bugs from The Crafty Crow.


EmmaBradshawconkers
Photo by Emma Bradshaw

You can even make a game with chestnuts. Check it out at Bradshaw & Sons.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Real life with diabetes: Insulin for Life

Jared biking in Moab last summer. Proof that diabetics can live a normal life!
I have to start out by saying that we are really blessed to live where we do, in a free nation with all kinds of medical help available. When Jared needs anything, such as blood glucose testing strips or insulin, all I have to do is go down the street to the pharmacy to pick it up. What's more, insurance pays for almost all of it. That's a huge blessing too...and I recognize that. It's not true for everyone.

During a visit to Jared's pediatric endocrinologist a couple of years ago, the doctor told us something that Jared and I had never thought about before. Kids in developing countries, such as India or Africa, who get Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes die from it within a year. (And trust me, it would NOT be a pleasant death, not at all). The reason is because either they cannot get insulin at all, or if insulin happens to be available, it often costs more than the family makes in an entire month or even an entire year! This was something that really hit us hard. Jared had been in a rough patch and complaining about diabetes a lot. This news effectively put a stop to that. His smart doctor helped him realize that though diabetes is a tough disease, he's blessed to be able to get what he needs to live with it. Sadly, a lot of kids in the world don't.

Today I am sharing this news just to make you aware that children are dying of diabetes because they can't get or afford insulin. It doesn't have to happen. There is a group devoted to providing insulin and other supplies to children with Type 1 diabetes around the world.

Insulin for Life USA is a non-profit organization that helps diabetic children in third world countries get the insulin that they need to live.  To learn more about this problem or to help out, visit the website at www.insulinforlifeusa.org. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Onion Crunch ** WINNER!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Congrats to SANDY W!! Drop me an email and let me know where to send your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered! 
 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Birthday Pie

***Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom  sponsored by Whirlpool and enter to win a new Whirlpool Range

The Man doesn't like birthday cake. He likes birthday PIE.




This is Swiss Apple Pie from the Lion House Pies cookbook.  Honestly, if you haven't bought that cook book and you like pie, you're missing out. Seriously missing out. I learned some tips and tricks that I didn't know before, and I've been making pies for a long time. That's not to say I've become an expert or anything...not hardly. But according to my family, I can make a decent pie. :)

Swiss Apple Pie
from Lion House Pies

one recipe two-crust pie crust
1 21 oz. can apple pie filling
1 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
cinnamon & nutmeg

Prepare your pie crust and line a pie dish with the bottom crust. I prefer a glass (Pyrex) pie pan. It really makes the best pie crust. Why? Because the pie crust browns on the bottom. It can't do that as well in a pie tin. As I've said before, my favorite pie crust is a simple flour, salt, sugar & butter flavored Crisco combination. That's it.
Put the bottom crust in the pan and add the cherry pie filling first, then the apple on top. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top. (I am generous with this step). Put the vented top crust on, seal the edges, and brush it with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Doing that makes a pretty crust. Bake the pie at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden brown. Let it cool before slicing, but not too long. This pie is really good while it's still warm!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to The Man.

Today is Jeff's birthday.


He hasn't changed a bit. (Except for the bow tie. You wouldn't catch him in one now!)

In honor of his birthday, I'll just say a few things that I like about him. Yep, like. Because you can love someone, but if you don't like them too it's not as good as it could be. KWIM?

~the glint in his eye when he teases me.
~he's a hard worker, and always gives his best to everything.
~he's 5'10. For someone who is 5'3, that's tall enough.
~his sense of humor.
~he's nice to me about this blog, although I'm sure he thinks I'm crazy.
~when his past job was too stressful, he took up running as a way to deal. And now he's working on marathon #2.
~he is never afraid to try something new. Except if it's food that contains Lima beans.

Something I've really seen lately that I LOVE about him is his patience, kindness, and long-suffering ways. It's really a gift. And not just to me.

Happy Birthday honey! (He'll probably not read this, but that's okay. I still like him.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Daddy likes.

Thanks to Libby, I now fully understand exactly what her Daddy likes.


You see, her Daddy has a birthday tomorrow, and Libby has been thinking hard about what she should get him. For days and days.

This morning before school she approached me with a list she had made, titled, "What Daddy likes." It's a pretty simple list:

Sports
Wife
Kids
Hunting
The color red

(The End)

Well, I can tell you that I am very proud to be on the list. I don't know why I appeared AFTER sports, but I guess that's the breaks.

More about Daddy and his birthday tomorrow!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Onion Crunch review & giveaway


The following post & giveaway is sponsored by Loeb's All Natural Onion Crunch.

Do you love fried onions? Onion rings? Everyone's holiday favorite, Green Bean Casserole? If so, you need to try Onion Crunch. Onion Crunch is all natural and made with 100% real onions. It's low in sodium, carbs (good for the diabetic around here), cholesterol, and is free of trans fats. A 2 tablespoon-sized serving is only going to cost you 40 calories. You can use it as a condiment on hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, pizza, vegetables, and as the topping on that infamous Green Bean Casserole, which I am definitely going to do this year.

I received a free 6 oz. container of Onion Crunch, along with five single-serving packets. Let me just tell you, those packets didn't make it through the day. As soon as my three teenagers (two boys, one girl) got home from school, all the packets were gone. They asked me what was in the packages and when I told them they asked to try it. The response from all three was this: "They taste like onion rings. I want some more." I tried them and they do taste like onion rings, only lighter in fat, which for me is always a plus!

My oldest son had been requesting that we have hot dogs for dinner (something I don't like to do often), and since the Onion Crunch bottle suggests putting it on hot dogs, we tried it. My teenage boys especially liked Onion Crunch on their dogs, and ate it for lunch the next day. I tried the Onion Crunch on a baked potato and liked it, but I think everyone's favorite way to eat them was plain, right out of hand.

Here in Utah, Onion Crunch is available at Associated Foods stores, such as Dan's or Dick's. Over the weekend, I saw a new display of it at my local Smith's Marketplace.

As the sponsors of this post, Loeb's Onion Crunch is giving away the same products I received for my review. Pictured above is the 6 oz. container of Onion Crunch, as well as five individual-sized bags.

**To enter, simply follow the Rafflecopter directions below. This giveaway will run through midnight on Thursday, October 18th. Winner will be announced on my blog on Friday the 19th.**
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 12, 2012

I draw the line!

This the wreath that hangs on my front door. It's going to stay there til the day after Thanksgiving, when the Christmas wreath will go up. (I am not a retailer who would like to slide right past Halloween and Thanksgiving over to Black Friday. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!)

I made this wreath, and I'm proud of it. (But not too proud, 'cause pride goes before a fall. It's true).

So today, I'm sitting here writing an article and I hear this funny noise. Sort of a scratching sound. My dog Molly was lying in the living room. Twice I got up and looked at her and said, "What are you doing?" She just looked back at me as if to say, "Huh? I'm sleepy. I'm doing nothing." She really was doing nothing...lazy bones.

Finally I realized the sound was coming from the front door. I looked out the window to see no one there. Then I saw the real culprit.

A naughty, thieving little Blue Jay was trying to help himself to parts of my wreath!

I opened the door, he flew away, and I said, "Leave my wreath alone Mister!" (Yeah, I really did talk out loud to a Blue Jay AND call him Mister). But--lots of naughty Blue Jays have eaten our sunflower seeds, pecked at my potted flowers and hounded Snickers the rabbit. So I think I'm justified.

I like their blue color, but not much else.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bargain Buy: Fairy Shoes

It's no secret that I buy stuff from "thrift" stores, such as Kid to Kid. (See my daughters' Kid to Kid fashion show at this post. Why pay more if I find something great for less?

Today I went to another thrift store known in these parts as the DI. (Short for Deseret Industries). Once in awhile, we find like new items and other great stuff (antiques, golf bags, golf shoes, books, etc etc etc), so we sometimes go treasure hunting there just for kicks. Jeff and I have been known to stop there during a date night. :)

While there I happened on these shoes. Shoes I wear that have embellishment on the toes and are flat, Jeff calls "fairy shoes." You're right if you assume that means he doesn't like them. But I do like them! These are great for Fall and fit me perfectly. What's more, they were $3 ($3!!!) and they look like they were never worn. Now that's what I call a bargain buy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Food (aka Fat Food)

I've gained a couple of pounds. :P

But it's my own fault.

I could blame it on Fall...the crisp feeling in the air calls for baking up delicious treats. So that's what I did. Obviously, I didn't stop at just making them.

I made this:
Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Vanilla sheet cake from here. 

You know what? At first, I liked it. It's moist, although almost too moist, and sweet. Then I decided it was too sweet, and for me, didn't have enough pumpkin flavor. Not everyone liked it. And the most telling thing? The whole pan did not get eaten. I think that says it all right there. If I ever made it again (but I probably won't), I would not put the frosting on. It didn't need it.

I also made this:
And now we're talking total deliciousness--no question. This is Apple Walnut Bundt Cake with(out) Rum Icing. You'll find it here. The hubs could take it or leave it, but everyone else wanted seconds, and Nicole took a piece with her back to her college apartment. In other words, no leftovers.

The recipe calls for rum icing, made with rum extract, which would probably be good. I just decided that for our family (diabetes, etc) whipped cream would be better, so that's what we put on top. I think the best part was the walnuts. I am a put-walnuts-in-cake-bread-muffins-chocolate-or-whatever kind of girl. I love walnuts.

And now I must go workout. Have you seen an app called Gym Pocket Guide? Awesome.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Win with a Pink Taffy Designs Giveaway!

Unique Baby Gifts by Pink Taffy Designs a Children's Boutique 

Today I'm filling you in on a little secret.
Pink Taffy Designs is a unique baby & children's boutique
with cute, cute stuff.
We're talking clothes, all sorts of accessories, even room decor.
So whether you have kids, grand kids or love other people's kids,
you'll find great gifts for them at Pink Taffy.
Things like:
Bloomers & Petti Pants 

Pettipants. Adorable!
What I am used to calling them is rumba-bums.
(That name came from my mom-in-law, who loved
buying "rumba-bum" tights & diaper covers for her granddaughters).
Whatever you like to call them, you'll find them at Pink Taffy Designs.

 Tutus

Pink Taffy Designs carries all sorts of tutus like this one.
Man, I wish my girls were tiny again! (okay, just for a day).

Blankets, Burps & Bibs 

It may be called Pink Taffy Designs, but you'll find cute stuff for boys too.

Now for the best part:

As the sponsors of this post,
Pink Taffy Designs is giving away 
a free set of their awesome wall letters to one of my readers!

All you have to do to enter is follow the directions below.
Rafflecopter is fast and easy!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friends



This is October's picture on my calendar. I really like the quote, and it got me thinking.

I thought of the old (yet still young!) friend I've known since junior high (that's you Chelle!) and friends I've known since high school (there a quite a few of those). They've all had a hand in the person I am now. The old cliche is true. Friends are so important! I tell my kids all the time to make sure they choose great friends for themselves. Sometimes great friends just show up, and we need to be smart enough to keep them around. I'll count my hubby among one of those. :)

There are also the friends that I've made in my adult life--the friends from our married student ward, our West Jordan neighborhood, our neighborhood now. In each place, I've met really awesome people that I never knew existed, yet they became an important part of our lives. It's just amazing to me how many awesome people there are in this world, and I'm grateful to know so many of them.

I can't forget the friends we meet who feel like an "old friend" as soon as you meet them. I have a few of those too...if you believe like I do then you know that those friendships had to have begun in the world before this one. See this post for more on that.

Friends are such a blessing! Thank you to all my mine for making my life better.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy wreath

Every time I go downstairs by Nicole's (mostly unoccupied) room, this is what I see:



I went down there this morning, and I couldn't help but smile inside. Quite awhile ago, we each made one of these wreaths together. I can't remember where we saw the idea, but it's supposed to be a wreath to hang on your front door anytime you have a birthday in the family. I think Nicole's makes her happy enough that she doesn't care if it's her birthday or not--it stays on her bedroom door year round.

If you want to make a Happy Birthday wreath (or just a happy, give-you-a-smile-because-balloons-are-like-that wreath) it's sooo easy to do. Just get a straw wreath from your local craft store. I think we used 12 or 14 inch wreaths. You can wrap the wreath with wide ribbon, any color you like, if you choose. (We didn't, so it's not required). At the least, get enough ribbon in your choice of design/color to wrap around the top of the wreath for hanging it. Get a package of round balloons in your choice of colors. Obviously, we went with pastels, but primary colors would be cute also. For this size wreath, you want at least 100, depending on how closely you pack them in. Lastly, get some floral picks. They look like this:


Wrap either the entire wreath in ribbon, or just the top, leaving enough to hang it with. If your wreath came wrapped in plastic, I suggest leaving it intact because it keeps the straw from making a mess while you work on it. It also gives the picks more to cling to. Take your wrapped wreath and a balloon. Put a pick over the middle of the balloon and pin it to the wreath. Just keep going until you have filled in your wreath to your liking. Then hang it on your door and smile.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Revolution: Have you watched?

I was a big LOST fan. We're talking pretty darn big.

This does have something to do with NBC's new Monday night show Revolution: they are created by the same person, J.J. Abrams, in case you didn't know. This tells me a few things:

1. Watch carefully. The littlest bit of info can be very important down the road.
2. There are always clues to the bigger picture, sometimes in every scene.
3. There is always a HUGE clue at the end of each episode.
4. Abrams likes to use some of the same actors. Hello again, Elizabeth Mitchell and Mark Pellegrino!

When I saw some promos for Revolution and that J.J. Abrams was behind the scenes, I knew I must watch. The premise didn't hurt either. (The "present" day in Revolution is 15 years after a worldwide blackout. There is no electricity, no computers, no internet, nothing. The blackout effectively sent the world back to the mid 1800s). What I have noticed so far:

*Whenever the title comes on screen, "EVOLUTION" is up for several seconds first before the "R" appears in front. This means something. At the least, it refers to the evolution of society and individuals because of the blackout, but it probably means more. And generally, if someone or something evolves, it means that it/they become better than before. Interesting.

*If there ever was a world wide blackout (EMP?) of some kind, it wouldn't be any fun.

*Last night's episode showed just how mean some people could get when really hungry. Store food. :)

*So a certain few have power. Just what are those little amulets? In episode one, there was definitely a USB port inside one of them. Assuming they are all identical, what's stored in there and how many people have one?

*Today's constitutionalists could be the rebels of Revolution. After the blackout, government collapsed and militia took over. The rebels (revealed in last night's episode) have flag tattoos and are working towards reinstating the constitution and the United States of America.

It remains to be seen what happens next or if the show is successful, but in the meantime it's an interesting idea and does make you think. (Be aware that it contains some violence--which I hope lessens in the future. Anyway, it isn't for kids!)

Monday, October 1, 2012

A product review that'll help you save face.

**Note: this is another of my own unpaid, completely personal product reviews. I bought the stuff, tried it, and I'm showing you the results because I like sharing information like that. It's how I roll.**

Remember my birthday post, when I admitted to having those pesky brown age spots around my eyes? (In all truthfulness, there are a few more than just around my eyes, but that's the worst spot). I really do not enjoy those spots, so I went on a quest to find something that would fade them without breaking the bank. Because although we have a lot of trees in this yard, not one of them grows money. But hey, we're rich in fruit! :)

I read in Good Housekeeping (I think?) that Garnier products for aging skin work well and were recommended by the magazine. I never argue a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, so I decided I would buy something Garnier, specifically something in the Skin Renew line that would promise to fade age spots. Most stores had it around $15, but I happened on some at Target, and it was marked down to $9. Needless to say, I made that purchase.


<<Before & After>>







Okay, so the pic at left was taken when we went camping at the end of July. The brown spots are pretty obvious there on the right side of my face to the outside of and below my eye. You can't see the other side of my face, but it was the same.


The pic on the right was taken two days ago, after using the Garnier Skin Renew lotion and sunscreen every morning for 2 weeks. The spots haven't gone away, but they have faded considerably! (I hope you can tell). Both pics are not edited in any way, and I'm completely makeup-free. *It's important to note that the bottle says you'll see results in 4 weeks--I've definitely seen great results in less.

This is the good stuff. If you want some and you have a Target nearby, I'd check there first. If it's still marked down, you'll save a good 5-6 bucks.