Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cookie Monster

This is what I had for my birthday cake this it SOOO good! If you've ever been in Craigo's in Rexburg...that's where we stole the idea from. We used to make this all of the time when we were dating..and I forgot about it until this year. It's so easy...and SO yummy!

You will need:
*1 package Toll House Cookie Dough (or your homemade, I'm lazy so I usually use store bought)
*Whipping Cream
*Vanilla bean Ice Cream
*Chocolate and Caramel Topping
*I use a 6" round cooking pan

You cover the whole bottom of the pan in cookie dough and cook it how you would normal cookies, let it cool off a little, then cover the cookie with your vanilla bean ice cream, then do a layer of whipping cream, and top it off with the caramel and chocolate and enjoy! With the left over cookie dough we made it in the muffin pan so that we just had little single servings so we didn't eat a whole pan! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Father's Day

This is what I did for Father's Day this year, so Adam could have a picture of Brynlee at work...I think he liked it! :) ...Thank you Pinterest!!


So I went to a friends house and we were having pears and this is how we ate it...for some reason it just makes it so much better because it's not so messy when you eat it. Just cut it up with an apple slicer! Wahla!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mother's Day/Father's Day

So my brilliant Sis-in-Law came up with this idea to give our Mother-in-Law a quilt with all her kids/spouses and grandchildren's hand prints on it.  So we all passed the quilt along and got our hand prints on there.  We are only missing 2, and they are in the military right now, so it may be a few months.  I thought it was such a good idea when I heard it, and now that I am seeing the final product... I LOVE IT!!!  It has turned out so cute.  As new babies come along we are going to add them with the rest of their family.  Soon the quilt will be totally covered with hand prints! 

My family

So my dear sisters, what do you think?  We start now, we could have everyone on there for next Mother's Day/Father's Day.  Even Dear Uncle Dave,  I think they would love it.  You?


Monday, June 18, 2012

A Clean House

Now, I am not saying that my house is always in perfect order, or ever in perfect order, but over the last few years I have come up with an order in which I clean and organize my house each week that I find quite nice, and less stressful.  I try to have all my jobs done by noon each day, so that during nap time I can have some time to myself to do what I want.  Then after school I can spend time helping with homework and making dinner.
So here it goes...

Sheet day.  Everyone knows they do not make their beds in the morning, instead they bring me their sheets.  By the time the kids get home from school their sheets are washed, dried and ready for them to put on their beds.
Floor day.  I dust before vacuuming (or one of the kids if it is summer break). I vacuum all of my floors upstairs, mop floors upstairs that may need it.  (I vacuum my kitchen floor everyday, but this is the day it gets mopped also along with any other day their is a spill) I move the furniture around in the front and living room about once a month, beds and such once a year (usually during spring cleaning time).

Toilet day.  Enough said.  :)  I now have 5 bathrooms, so as you can imagine that is all I need to do that day. The kids do help, they each get 2 toilets, or 2 sinks, sometimes they get all the mirrors, or dumping all the garbages.  I have the kids help as much as they can according to their age.  This is the day I also clean the bathroom floors if they need it.  They all get vacuumed the day before, so unless they are really dirty, I usually only mop them once a month.
Towel day.  I wash all the towels, cleaning rags, placemats, and anything else along those lines.  I also really, really try to get them folded and put away!  That is the hardest thing about doing laundry for me!!

Wash Day.  This day is a very busy day.  I gather all the dirty laundry baskets, sort and start washing.  I usually have about 5 or 6 loads of wash.  I work really hard at only concentrating on doing laundry so that by the time the kids are out of school I have all their laundry done, in their baskets and ready for them to put away.  (sometimes, when I don't get all the towels put away, I will send the towels that go downstairs with the kids that are downstairs, and stick the others in my basket so I have to put them away) I always have the kids put their own clothes away, even my 4 year old (whom I help) and have them return their baskets, that way I know that they put the clothes away and they are not just sitting in their room in a basket all week.
Windows.  I have the kids go through the house and wash all the windows.  With 3 helpers it doesn't take long.

Floor day.  I dust downstairs, then I vacuum downstairs and the stairs.  The kids each vacuum their own rooms.  I also re-vacuum the family room upstairs since it is the most used room in our house.  And I usually get the hardwood floor in my entryway again for the same reason.
This is the day when I can either catch up on other things that have gotten away from me during the week, or I pick a project room or closet to work on.

Fridge Friday.  I clean out my fridge and get rid of any nasty-ness.  Then I make a menu for the upcoming week, grocery list of what I will need and go shopping.  Obviously, I am not perfect and forget things that I may need and make extra trips into town during the week, but I do try to get all my shopping done on one day.

Free day.  I try to have everything done by Friday so that on Saturday when my hubby is home we can spend that time together as a family doing something fun, instead of cleaning.  When I was growing up Saturday was our cleaning day, and I dreaded Saturday.  It felt like all we did all day was clean, nothing fun. I know that is coming from the mind of a child and it was probably a little better, but that is how I remember it.  I want to be able to go and do things and not be embarassed if someone were to come over on Sunday morning after we were gone playing all day Saturday.  Of course we still have to do the dishes, but that is about it. :)

Now my kids help out a lot.  I have a chore chart for them, actually 4 of them so they can rotate and not get bored with the same thing.  I rotate a lot of little jobs for them that really help out, and everything listed up above is on their charts.  But I have other things like taking out all the garbages the day before garbage day, cleaning the fronts of the appliances, organizing mud room.  My sister Heather taught me that kids can help with the dishes everyday.  I make sure I unload the dishwasher every morning, and every night the kids rotate who washes and who loads.  (On the chart) I am kinda a freak when it comes to how my dishwasher is loaded, so when they are done I fix a few things, but they actually do a very good job of doing the dishes.

Well, I think that is about all.  This routine has been working for me for about 5 years now.  My house is never perfect, but it is clean.  I don't feel stressed during the week because I live in a mess.  Hope that someone can at least use some of this to help them be more organized.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Melt In Your Mouth Muffins- Gluten Free

So, for the gluten free version of these muffins, you will need to add a little extra milk than the original version, but they really are very delicious too!  I was worried that they would be a poor substitute for the real thing, but that is not the case!  I have NO problem eating this version while the rest of the family eats the real thing!  I also substituted Splenda for the sugar and Silk for the milk to accommodate my dairy free diet.

Muffin Mix-Gluten Free                                                                                                                    

(Melt-in-Your-Mouth Muffins-Gluten Free Version!)

8 C. White Rice Flour (Below)                     2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
3 C. Splenda                                                  1 Egg  
3 Tbsp. Baking Powder                                1 1/2- 2 C. Silk
2 tsp. Salt                                                       ½ C. Butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

For Mix:  In larger bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Put in large airtight container.  Label with date and contents.  Store in a cool, dry place.  Use within 6 to 8 months.  Makes about 11 cups of muffin mix.

For Muffins:  Preheat oven to 400°.  Put liners in muffin pans.  Put 2 ¾ cups muffin mix in medium bowl.  Combine egg, milk, and butter in small bowl.  Add all at once to muffin mix.  Stir until mix is just moistened; batter should be lumpy.  Fill prepared muffin liners ¾ full.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Makes 1 dozen muffins. 

For variation, fill liners only partway; add a teaspoon of jam or jelly.  Finish filling liners.  Can also mash up a banana or two and add to batter with some chopped walnuts; add cup of blueberries or chocolate chips.  Bake as usual.

These are just 96 calories if you make them plain and still as low as 131 calories if you add chocolate chips to them!  Nice!

Rice Flour Mix:
2 C. Rice Flour                                             1/3 C. Tapioca Flour
2/3 C. Potato Starch                                   1 tsp Xanthan Gum

Mix at this ratio until you have the amount of rice flour you would like.  Store in an air tight container.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Melt In Your Mouth Muffins

These are really great muffins.  They taste so delicious.  My family loves them.  My boys eat them up and ask for them often!  You can make them several different ways for a variety or just eat them plain.  I even tried them gluten free today and they were still great, no joke!  I will include a link for that recipe too at the end.

Muffin Mix                                                                                                                    

(Melt-in-Your-Mouth Muffins)
8 C. All-purpose Flour                                   2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
3 C. Sugar                                                       1 Egg  
3 Tbsp. Baking Powder                                  1 C. Milk
2 tsp. Salt                                                        ½ C. Butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
For Mix:  In larger bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Put in large airtight container.  Label with date and contents.  Store in a cool, dry place.  Use within 6 to 8 months.  Makes about 11 cups of muffin mix.

For Muffins:  Preheat oven to 400°.  Put liners in muffin pans.  Put 2 ¾ cups muffin mix in medium bowl.  Combine egg, milk, and butter in small bowl.  Add all at once to muffin mix.  Stir until mix is just moistened; batter should be lumpy.  Fill prepared muffin liners ¾ full.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Makes 1 dozen muffins. 

For variation, fill liners only partway; add a teaspoon of jam or jelly.  Finish filling liners.  Can also mash up a banana or two and add to batter with some chopped walnuts; add cup of blueberries or chocolate chips.  Bake as usual.

These are just 96 calories if you make them plain and still as low as 131 calories if you add chocolate chips to them!  Nice!

Gluten Free Recipe


Kick Water Ball

 We just had another great Young Women's activity this week.  Since it is summer now, and we live in the HOT south, you have to do things to keep yourself cool, so we played 'Kick Water Ball'.  You could also call it 'Kick Pool Ball'. 

Objects you will need:  3 small plastic pools.  We had a couple of blow-up pools and they did not work well!  You could use a blow-up one for the end though. . .  One large bouncy ball.  You can find this a Walmart for about $4-5 if you don't already own one for your children.  One (or more slip-n-slides), and a fairly large backyard or church lawn.  Hills are fine, so don't shy away from a yard because it has hills! 

Setup:  1st, 2nd, and 3rd bases are the 3 plastic pools filled with water.  The slip-n-slide is then set up from 3rd base to home plate.  If you have more than one slip-n-slide, connect them because you might need extra room, especially if you are going down a hill.  If you are working with hills, have home to first going up the hill and 3rd to home going down the hill! 

Objective:  Each team member kicks the ball and runs to first base and then has to SIT in the pool.  They are not safe until they have done so!  They cannot run onto 2nd until that have done so, even if it is a home run!  They continue around the bases until they reach 3rd, then they slip-n-slide down to home plate.  If the other team throws the ball and hits them, or touches them with the ball, they are out.  If they don't sit in the pool before going onto the next base they are out! 

This was so much fun.  We spent the first half of the night just slip-n-sliding down the hill, but the game was so awesome, we wished we had started earlier!  I would also recommend, if anyone has them, also use personal floatation devices (not the arm floaties but the whole bodies ones or the little boat shaped ones) to cushion as you go down the slip-n-slide.  It really does start to hurt after a while and this helps!  Soap is also fun!


Family Feud

   We played "Family Feud" last month at church for our youth's joint activity.  It was a blast.  They had so much fun and even the few kids who said they wouldn't play had joined in by the second round and were very active!  I put together this power point for it and it turned out awesome.  You are welcome to use the one I have made or change it to fit your needs.  The basis of the design was hyperlinking between the question slide, the answer slide when the "family member" selects a correct answer showing the points awarded, and finally to the full answer slide.  There are about 12 slides at the end that are all church based questions.  They are not in the same "we survey 100 people" style.  Instead, you can use them as a bonus or speed round and award them so many points for each correct answer.

  What we did was break them up into 4 families, or enough to make about 4-5 people on a team.  We had two games going on at once, one at either end of the gym.  We had both computers connected to a projector, projecting on a white board.  We also had a caulkboard at each end to keep score.  You could use an additional white board for this purpose if you have access to that instead or would prefer it!  To start each question, the first person, or next person in line for each team would listen to the question out loud and the first one to shout their name would get to answer first.  If they answer correct, their team gets to answer the questions until they either answer them all correctly or get three strikes.  If they answer incorrectly, the question is then turned over to the other team for their first member, or next in line to answer.  If he/she got it incorrect, we would continue going down the line until one team had guessed a correct answer.  Once that part was established and the team was answering questions, if they ever got to three strikes, the question would be turned over to the other team who fot to discuss the question and have the person who's turn it was say the answer.  If they choose a correct answer, they steal all of the points from the other team.  If not, we would just move onto the next question and the first team would keep all of the points they had earned.

  We played about 2 rounds with regular point values, then had a round with double points, then a final round with triple points.  Whoever won after the 4th round moved on to the winners bracket and so forth.  I don't know if this is totally the correct way to play it, but it worked for us.  The kids were totally talking smack to each other and everyone got really involved.  It was a lot of fun for everyone.

  I'll give a couple of instructions for changing things.  First, if you want to put what youth group it is, that is the first slide and you should be able to just type without messing anything up.  The second to last slide has the "High Councilor in Your Stake".  This could really be any leader group you want for your area, just change the question accordingly on each slide.  The important part though is on the second through the second to last slide of that group, I just put "Name" on all of the spots.  Make sure not to undo the underline or you have undone the hyperlink.  Just put your curser right at the beginning of the 'N' and type the name you want and then delete the 'Name'.  The last slide is also not as importand but just try not to move any of them or they will be off from the question slide.  I have made it so when you go from page to page they are all in the same spot.  The last thing to be careful of, make sure your curser is right over the box or the underlined answer or it will start taking you to random slides and the kids will be able to see the other answers.  The first slide in each group has and "End" box on the bottom right which will take you to the last page with all the answers and point values!  If you have any questions or want to give feed back, please leave a comment!  I would love to hear from you!


Ham Fried Rice

Ham Fried Rice

4 Serving of rice (or more if you want)
1 C. Ham, chopped up
1 C. Onions
1 C. Peas
6 Eggs, Scrambled
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Soy Sauce to Taste

I will usually make the minute made rice in the microwave while I am making my sweet and sour chicken because I am not a very good rice maker and it is just easy this way!  Once the chicken is in the oven, I will start chopping the ham and onions.  I will cook the ham first in the big skillet, then with a little oil, maybe a Tbsp, I will add the onions until they are transparent.  Then the peas.  I usually do frozen.  Then I will push all of that back to the back of the skillet and start cooking the eggs, a little at a time so they don't run into the rest of the food.  Once they are done, I will mix all of that together, then add in the rice.  Add your soy sauce to taste, salt and pepper, and then turn to low until your chicken is ready to go!  It is so simple and delicious!  My family LOVES this meal!

To go to the Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe I usually use with the Ham Fried Rice, go here!  Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken

So this is really and truly THE BEST sweet and sour chicken EVER!  Notice I underlined and capitalized it!  That has to say something, RIGHT??  It is really easy too.  I got the recipe from my friend Sarah and I love it.  It is also one of the only things my husband will eat as a leftover. . . even 3 or 4 days after we had it first.  That should REALLY tell you something about it!  So here is the recipe!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
1 Egg, beaten in a bowl and set aside
6 Chicken Breasts- cut into 1 inch cubes (I love to use my meat scissors.  It gets the job done in like 2 minutes!)
1 C. Flour, put in a gallon size ziplock bag with a little salt and pepper

In a medium bowl:
3/4 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Vinegar
1 tsp Soy Sauce
4 Tbsp Ketchup
1 Bouillon Cube
 1/2 C. Water

Combine all of the ingredients in the medium bowl, mix well, and set aside.  Turn your oven on to 350°.  Also have a large frying pan with about 2 Tbsp of oil ready on the stove, and a 9X13" pan greased and set aside.

With your chicken, dip several pieces in the egg and transfer into the ziplock bag.  Once you have a fair amount in there, enough to fill the bottom, but not so many there is no flour left, close the bag up and shake it until all of the chicken piece are covered.  Transfer those into your frying pan and let sit until the rest are covered.  Continue process until all of the chicken is floured or until your frying pan is full, then cook chicken on medium heat until all sides are browned.  Transfer this into your 9X13" pan.  Once all of the chicken has been browned, pour half of the mixed sauce over chicken and place in the oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, turn all of the chicken over and pour the remaining sauce over top.  Cook for another 30 minutes and eat!

I almost forgot to mention, it is sometimes nice to double the sauce recipe so you can make a little extra chicken or have on your rice!

I like to serve this with Ham Fried Rice which is also very easy.  You can get to it from this link:  Ham Fried Rice  I will attach pictures as soon as I make it again!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chicken Sesame

You know that you have found a keeper when you ask the kids what should we make for dinner, and one yells, "Sesame chicken!" and then all the other kids follow with, "Yes, I love that stuff, please Mom."  Yep, it is a keeper!  I found this recipe in a church cookbook one day when I was searching for a recipe that could be made in the crockpot.  I love crockpot meals on days that are going to be hectic and this was one of those days.  
Wednesdays have turned into our crockpot day.  The girls have gymnastics and we don't get home until 6, and we are early eaters I guess, because by that time everyone is starving and wants a meal the second we walk in the door.  So crockpot Wednesday began.  The first night we had this everyone had seconds and thirds.  There was not a single bit of food left for lunches the next day.  A definite HIT!  Then the next week the kids asked for it again.  Okay, easy enough.  Now we have been making Chicken Sesame 1-2 times a month for almost a year now.  And no one, and I mean one one, complains that we keep having the same thing.  They love it!

Chicken Sesame

3/4 C. tomato juice
1/4 C. soy sauce
3/4 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 T. minced garlic
2 T. sesame seeds
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Throw everything in the crockpot.  Cook on low heat 6-8 hours.  Turn the chicken after about 3 hours to make sure all sides get in the sauce.  Serve over rice.

I buy a 6 pack of tomato juice that comes in 5.5 oz cans.  I found this to be the best price and one can is about 3/4 C.  So they are perfect.  If you are lucky enough to live near a WINCO, buy your sesame seeds there, in the bulk section.  You will spend about $2 for a big baggy of them, rather than $5 in the already bottled spice section.

Hope you enjoy!!

~ Rachel ~

Homemade Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme!!

This is my FAVORITE thing at Taco Bell...I get it every time i go there! So when I saw this on pinterest I had to make it! And it was SOO good!  Probably even better than Taco Bell's because I made it myself. It was a hit...and I will definitely make it again! And it's easy. :) Next time I just need to get bigger tortilla shells so they wrap around the whole thing, You can find it here.


Ice Cream Cake!

Adam wanted an ice cream cake for his birthday so I threw this little piece together and it was SO GOOD!!! We LOVED it! It will probably become a regular in our family. And the best part was that it was so easy! Here is what you need:

*8 ice cream sandwhiches
*Your favorite kind of ice cream
*Whipped topping
*Oreos or chocolate and/or carmel for the top

Here's what you do...
1. Line 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 5/8-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, with plastic overhanging edges. Remove wrapping from 8 cakes. Press 4 cakes into bottom of pan, so the long sides of the individual cakes are parallel with short end of loaf pan
2. Let the ice cream sit out for about 10 minutes, or while you start the cake so it can get soft, put about 2 cups of ice cream in a bowl and stir it util it is about the consistency of cream cheese and pour it on top of  the ice cream cakes.
3. Unwrap 4 more ice cream cakes and put them on top of the ice cream, the same way you did the first layer. Tightly wrap the extra plastic wrap around your cake and put it into the freezer for about 3 hours.
4. Once the cake feels pretty firm, take off the plastic wrap and transfer it onto a platter...or plate. Frost the whole cake with thawed whipped topping. If you want to do a topping do it at this time. Place back in the freezer for another 2 hours, or overnight.
5. Enjoy your delicious cake!!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Digital Scrapbooking!!...Made Easy!

 So this is my new addiction! Seriously...I'm obsessed with it! I have told myself I can only do it during nap time so that I don't take away all of my time with Brynlee doing this. I am one who LOVES pictures...and after we got married I would print pictures off, and for the most part they are just sitting in a tote right now. I've made a couple photo albums, pretty much of our wedding and a couple trips. Anyways...I have never been a big scrapbooker...I love the look of scrapbooking but I feel I was never talented enough and it would take hours for me just to do one page, and I wouldn't love how it turned out. So this is what I do now...I use Smilebox ...and it is the most amazing thing EVER!!! It took me a little while to figure it out, but it's easy, they have thousands of layouts and it's...just amazing!! They have a 14 day trial period where you can test it out to see if you like it, and if you want to keep going you join Club Smile box and you can either pay $5.99 a month or you can pay a yearly fee for $39.99 which makes it $3.33 a month. Now the great thing about the monthly fee, which I am doing, is just get as much done as you can/want, and then cancel it until you have enough built up to make another book and then just pay one monthly fee again. Unless you want to use it all of the time and then it's totally worth the yearly fee.
Here is what you get for free...

  • More than 1,000 designs for virtually any occasion.
  • Project types galore - from scrapbooks, to slideshows, to invitations, to ecards, recipes and more.
  • Loads of options to personalize.
  • Add photos, videos, and music.
  • Amazingly fast and easy.
  • Email and post to Facebook or to your Personal Blog!

  • So here's how the scrapbooking works. They have albums that come with 5-10 pages in each one. They don't have individual pages you can choose from. But you can use however many pages you want. On each page they have options where you can choose the color, how many pictures on a page, three levels of embellishments, some have a title option, and most of them have a journal option to write something in. So you can customize it how you want it.  And then just go to the tab "share, print or dvd" and then click on the bottom tab to "Save to Dvd, Video or Jpeg image." And then just save it to your computer and use it for whatever you'd like.

    Rachel and Heather have found out that the cheapest way to make a book it through Blurb (booksmart) and you can download that for free!! Blurb it great for journaling, a picture book, and they have the option to make your blog into a book. And now I'm using it for this. :) And it is the EASIEST thing ever!! You just upload your Smilebox pages, you want the full bleed option, and you just drag the picture over on the page and drop it in...and your done! I am SO excited about this! So for right now I'm doing a book for Brynlee's first year, and then I'm going to catch up and the last 5 years. So I'm super stoked about it!

    Below is what Blurb looks like, you'll have your pictures on the left and just click on it and drag it over the page you want it on! Easy peasy! If you have any questions just let me know! Go and do it!! You'll love it!!
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