Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It is THAT time of the year again....


So this is the time of the year that you hope, beyond all hope, that your neighbors, family and friends did not plant any zucchini, and if they did you hope theirs died, because you have enough to share with your whole neighborhood and more.  :)  You know what I am talking about, right?  
Well, I am in that position now.  We ever only plant one zucchini plant and we still always have WAY more than we can handle (and we love zucchini bread).
This week alone we picked 10, yes 10, zucchinis.  More than enough to make dozens of loaves of bread.  I was so excited when my husband told me of an elderly gentleman in our ward who is celebrating his 85th birthday this week (one loaf down!)
So anyway, today is bread making day, so we can use this zucchini that is taking over my kitchen.
I cannot remember where I found this recipe, or who was the wonderful person that shared it with me, but we have been using it for years, and I love it!!

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 C. oil
2 C. sugar (I use 1 C. brown and 1 C. white)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp cinnamon
2 C. grated zucchini (seeds scraped out)
3 tsp. vanilla
3 C. Flour

Preheat oven to 325*
Beat the eggs well.  Add oil.  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into greased loaf pans, filling 3/4 full.  Bake for one hour at 325*
This makes about 1 large loaf pan with 2 little, or almost 2 large loaf pans.
I take the smaller pans out at 45 minutes and check the middle with a toothpick to see if they are done.  Sometimes they need just a little bit longer.

Depending upon how big you let your zucchini grow, it usually takes one per batch.  I picked most of mine this time when they were about 12" long and that was about perfect.  But if you love to let them get huge, be my guest, just more bread for you!

 I use a small spoon and scoop out the seeds in the center.

 My wonderful husband got me a cool grater attachment for my kitchen aid that works fabulously, but you can use any grater and grate up the zucchini.

The finished product!  The house smells so wonderful right now!!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baby Beanies!

These are some super cute beanies we have!! We are so excited about them! As always...you can check them out here! :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

In-house Date Night

The hubby and I like to have a date night every week (mostly me.  I like to have a date night every week!) But this can get to be very expensive paying for whatever activity we decide to do, plus a babysitter on top of that, it is just not do-able.  So we have a lot of in-house dates.  They are a lot of fun.  At least we really enjoy them.  I thought that I would share a date that we had last week.  
I feed the kids and had them get into their "movie clothes" aka... pj's, and then we started a movie for them downstairs.  I put our dinner in the oven and while it was baking I got myself all ready for our date.  I always try to look my best for our dates even if we are just going to snuggle and watch a movie.  I think it helps the hubby know that I care and makes me feel good.  At 7 dinner was ready.
I like to make a nice "romantic" dinner for us to eat by candlelight (even though when we ate this time it was still light outside).  I made this chicken lasagna that I found on pinterest, and a caesar salad (which I crave with every pregnancy), breadsticks, and sparlking cider, then we had an easy chocolate mousse, delish! (I just used the mousse part and not the cake)
Then we snuggled on the couch until the kids movie finished and we put them to bed.  Then the fun began.  I had bought cheap Nerf guns at the dollar store and we had a war!  And it was a blast.  We literally ran around in the house hiding in different spots and sneaking out to shoot each other.  (My 7 year old said she couldn't sleep because she kept hearing us running across the floor)  But seriously, it was so much fun.  We had to take a couple of breaks to find bullets, but we kept playing for over an hour.  You can be a little creative with this game adding a little fun (everytime you reload your guns you meet in the middle for a kiss, or mini make-out session, or for every 5 times you are hit you have to remove an article of clothing, just be creative)
When it got dark enough we took a blanket outside and laid out and looked at the stars.  Seriously, this was one of the most fun at-home dates we have had.  Sometimes you just have to think outside the box a little.


How to make a Pinata

We went to a birthday party for a friend the last week and they had a pinata for the kids to hit.  My kids came away thinking that was the coolest thing ever!  Me, being the cheap-o that I am, thought... "We have a birthday coming up next week, I think I can make one."  And we did.  
I would give yourself 4-5 days to get the whole thing accomplished.

What you will need:
old newspapers (only a couple depending upon the size)
large bowl
crepe paper

Seriously, besides time, this cost me maybe, maybe $2.50 vs. $20-25 in the store (not including the candy)

 The first step is to make your "glue" or paste.  I used 1 C. flour to 2 C. water.  Mix it really good with a fork or whisk.  Cut newspaper into 1 1/2"- 2" strips.  
Now comes the messy part.  I would lay out extra newspaper underneath your work space, I found out the hard way how fun it is to clean the goop off the counter when you are done.  Not fun!
Set your balloon in a large enough bowl that it can set the balloon inside, but still be able to have balloon to work with. You will just take one strip of newspaper at a time and dip it all the way in the paste.  When you pull it out place it in between your first 2 fingers and swipe them down to clean off most of the paste.  Then start placing the newspaper all over the balloon.  You can overlap if you need to, but mostly this time you just need one good layer.  Leave a space at the top that you can pop the balloon (later, much later).  After the whole balloon is covered you let it dry.  I let mine dry for a whole day in between layers.  

 You repeat this layering of the newspapers dipped in paste 2 or 3 more times.  The harder you want the pinata to be to crack open, the more layers you need.  I did 3 layers and it lasted through 3 kids smacking it hard 6-7 times each.  I thought it was perfect.

Pop the balloon when the whole thing is totally dry.  
Paint your pinata a color similar to what you are going to decorate it with.  We were making a baseball, so I painted it white.  This just helps when you are putting the crepe paper down you won't see any newspaper through the spaces.
 Draw a design on the pinata.  Cut up the crepe paper into 2" pieces (or around there, my kids cut ours and there was a wide range of sizes, which is fine)
I started with the stitches on the baseball since the rest would be white.  You take the eraser end of the pencil, take a square of the crepe paper and stick it on the end like this picture below.
 Dip it in a little glue, real glue this time (Elmer's) and start sticking them on the pinata.
 I am not trying to talk you out of doing this, but it does take longer than you think to stick all this crepe paper on, but I loved the final result!!!  And so did my little birthday boy!  
My kids all helped, mostly my older girls, so this can be a family project.
The last step is to fill it up with candy, then stuff more newspaper into the top to fill it the rest of the way.  Cut 2 holes on either side of the top and tie a string about 40-50" connecting the two.  Now find a spot to hang it up and let the kids have fun!!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fabric Wreath

So my really good friend is helping with a relief society craft day and she is in charge of doing a cute wreath. So she came over the other day and we made these...and I personally think they turned out really cute! I am really excited! But since I live in an apartment...I'm afraid it will get stolen if I hang it on my door...so instead it's an inside decoration.

You will need: (just to add I am super cheap and got all of my materials at Hobby Lobby ((OBSESSED with that store!)) and used a 40% off coupon on each item to make it really cheap.) Paying full price you could make it for about $7.

**1 yard of Material, I got a really light tan color $2.99
**1/8 yard of burlap...and that couple probably make you triple what you need $.50
**Wreath...I got the hay one because it was a lot cheaper than styrofoam $3.99
**An embellishment to put in the middle of your flower, I used one I already had around the house
**Hot glue gun
**Sewing Machine :)

With my yard I used the length (hot dog style) and folded it in half, and would cut each half I think three times, so all of my pieces of fabric were 38" Long and 5 1/2" wide. I used 8 pieces, I was able to cut 10 pieces...so I had two left over.
Then you just start sewing down the middle and scrunch as you go...it does not need to be perfect, you won't be able to tell.

 This is what one piece looks like when your done sewing.
 My friend hot glued her fabric to the wreath and I just put pins in it, so whatever you have on hand. I thought the pins were really nice because you could rearrange the fabric if you needed to.
 You just wrap the fabric around and where the two ends would meet I would try to bunch it up a little and throw a pin in there so you can't see down to the hay. If you kind of poof it while you go too it make it look more ruffly.
 I just did 3 rosette flowers out of the burlap and hot glued and pinned it on. You can find a tutorial here.
Here is the final product!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lessons Learned

I saw this and thought it was a really good list of "life lessons" so I thought I'd share! :)  Written By Regina Brett, she had breast cancer and when she turned 45 she made a list of everything she learned from her experience and life, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written."

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and
parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey
is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up
to you and no one else
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d
grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Another Good Book to Read

So, I heard about this book at work and then started seeing it everywhere and it really sparked my interest.  So I finally got the book from the Library last week and read it on Sunday. . . ALL of it.  It was really good.  The book is called "Heaven is For Real".  It is a true story about a little boy who dies for a few minutes during an emergency appendectomy and his visit to heaven during that time.  His father has written the story for the boy telling all of the experiences he shared with them since the experience.

Heaven Is For Real Conversation Guide

Hope you enjoy this too! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Who's Your Daddy

I just went to an awesome youth conference about 2 weeks ago and had many excellent classes.  I came away wanting to share everything I heard and learned with my husband and kids.  It was so uplifting and good.  One of my favorite classes was called, "Who's Your Daddy".  The moment it was over, my friend and I were trying to figure out how to make it into a Family Home Evening lesson we could share that would be at our young kids level.  Well, I did it and they loved it!  I made it into a game and I would love for you to share it with your families too.  So here goes on paper. . .

To begin the lesson, if have or have access to the movie, "Remember the Titans," play the scene where the team is getting onto the bus for their camp and the team captains are telling the team members which bus they would get to ride on, segregating them by color.  The coach, Denzel Washington steps in and tells them they are not in charge, he is.  He asks them, "Who's your Daddy".  They look at each other confused because their Father's had just dropped them off for the camp and were standing close by.  He asks them again, louder, "Who's your Daddy?"  They finally answer, "You are".

Now to tie this into the lesson. . . I have them broken up into 4 colors, but there are really 3 groups: Spirit World, Earth, and the Rebirth.  I just used cardstock and had "Who's Your Daddy", "Who's Your Momma", "What Do You Get" on each set.  On the back side of the "Who's Your Daddy" pages, write one of the following on each:  1.) Heavenly Father,  2.) Your Dad here on Earth,  3.)  Jesus Christ,  4.) Satan.  On the back side of the "Who's Your Momma", write one of the following on each, coordinating the colors:  1.)  Heavenly Mother,  2.)  Your Mom here on Earth,  3.)  The Church,  4.)  The World, AKA, "The great and abominable church".  And on the "What Do You Get" pages, see the pictures down below!

You will play this part like a game, explaining it as you go along.  I taped all of the pages up on the wall with the answers facing the wall, grouping them with the "Spirit" and "Earth" groups together and the "rebirth groups" together.  If you want to go one step further, you can put a sign above the two groups.  The first saying, "No Choice", the second saying, "Our Choice".  If you have enough kids in your family, or a teenager, you could have one of them play a "Vanna White" character.  Start with asking the kids about premotal life and who our earthly parents are.  Each time they get one right, turn a card over, showing the answer.  After both parents have been displayed, explain that whenever we enter a family, we get something.  Then, see if they can guess that answer.  Move onto the "Earth" group.    When you get to the "What do you get" part, explain that besides the body, when we are born into this family, we are all also given a name.  If we are girls, when we get married and start a new family, we will get another new name as part of that family.

Now explain that we do not know if we had any choice to be born into Heavenly Father's family or into our earthly family.  What we do know is we made the choice to follow Heavenly Father's plan and come to earth which is what allowed us to be born and gain a body.  We also know that we will have a 3rd "Daddy" and this one will be our choice.  We make this choice when we are 8 and are baptized, but also everyday with the choices we make and they way we act.  Do these next two simultaneously/back-to-back.  Start with Jesus, followed immediately by the Satan page that corresponds.  With the "What do you get" page, I put 4 items, you could do the same ones or do different ones, but also compare them to each other one at a time.

So here is a look at the Pages:

Spirit World Group

Earth Pages

Rebirth Choice #1

Rebirth Choice #2

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

30 Minute Breadsticks

Easy Pizza Dough & Bread Sticks
1 Tbsp Yeast                           1 tsp salt
1 ½ cup warm water                About 3 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
Mix together as for bread.  Knead 3-5 minutes.  Raise 10 minutes. Knead 3 minutes more.  Roll out thin for pizza or thicker for bread sticks.  Cut into strips and raise 1o minutes more.  Bake 10-15 minutes at 425 for bread sticks; brush with melted butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Cinnamon Twists
1 ½ cups warm water                        ½ tsp salt
¼ cup sugar                                      flour
4 Tbsp butter (soft)                           2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp yeast                                     1 tsp. vanilla 
Mix ingredients together.  Continue to add flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough isn’t sticky.  Let rise 1 hour.
Roll dough into rectangle approximately same size as cookie sheet.  Melt 1 cube  butter.  Pour ½ on dough, other half in cookie sheet.  Sprinkle white sugar & cinnamon on dough.  Cut with pizza cutter into ½ inch strips.  Fold over on itself, then twist from both ends.  Place in pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool & frost with powdered sugar glaze.

These are some really great breadsticks.  They are quick and easy, and super yummy!  My little 4 year old asks for breadsticks for days after I make them.  I sometimes melt butter on the pan and then dip the breadsticks in the butter.  I then fold the breadstick in half and twist it.  Sometimes I add Parmasan, sometimes just plain.  We love them both ways! 


Monday, July 16, 2012

AMAZING Make up and Hair

Look at this girl! She is BEAUTIFUL!!! And she is amazing with hair and make up. I've been following her blog for a while her blog is Maskcara and you can find it here. She honestly has tutorials for every different type of make up look you are trying to get. She will find celebrities with really pretty makeup and do a tutorial on how to get that look, and she's take a picture of the celebrity and of herself with the same makeup and amazingly she looks almost exactly like them. She has a ton of awesome hair tutorials too, how to curl your hair beautifully all different ways. I just LOVE her blog...and I always go to it when I'm looking for a change up in my looks. :) She is the one that introduced me to fake eyelashes...which is my very favorite accessory now! :) She has tutorials on everything beauty...eyelashes, how to do your eyebrows, home beauty remedies that you can make for make up and hair to save you money. Go check out her blog...the first time I went there I was on there looking through the whole thing for about 2 hours! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Mmm.  That is what my kids say whenever I tell them we are having homemade Mac and Cheese.  They seriously love this kind more than the "real" kind from a box!!  I would hope so!  This is such a simple recipe, and delicious! 

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

3 C. medium shell macaroni, uncooked
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
2 C. milk
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350*

Cook macaroni as directed on package.  Cook bacon in a large saucepan.  Remove bacon and save drippings in the pan.  Add flour to drippings, cook and stir until bubbly.  Gradually pour in milk.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in 1 C. cheddar cheese and Parmesan; cook and stir until melted, add bacon and macaroni; mix well.  Pour into a 1 1/2 -2 qt casserole dish, top with remaining cheddar.  Bake 20 minutes.


This goes great with some of Michelle's homemade rolls and a spinach salad.  


Date Night!

Want a super fun date night idea?? Find a shooting range by you...I was a little nervous to go but we both had a BLAST! You can impress your man with how good you are with a gun! :) 

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