Monday, November 29, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I love artificial trees for their convenience. There is nothing easier than pulling out my tree from it's bag, fluffing it a little and having it pre-lit. I put up 5 trees up every year and there is just NO WAY that we are going to string lights each year! Plus I have lots of really heavy ornaments that just weigh down real trees too much.

Here is my living room tree.
While I love all the easy things that artificial trees have to offer, I kind of miss walking through the tree lot looking for the perfect one. One year we went up the mountain and cut one down ourselves. It was sooo much fun. The kids built a snowman and we drank hot chocolate while we were getting it. I also love the smell of real trees.

My next door neighbors cut their own tree every year. And without fail, every year it is a MASSIVE tree. And every year I walk outside and I say to Ryan, my neighbor, "Hey Griswold, where do you think you're gonna put a tree that big?" And every year he says back, "Bend over and I'll show ya!" Then we laugh at our own stupid humor.

Here is the tree in my bedroom.
This year I told Ryan and Jamie to let me know when they got their tree up so that I could come over and smell it! Jamie said, "Well geez, we have like 1/3 of the tree left sitting out in the driveway still. Go help yourself to it. Take it in your house and decorate it! Then you can smell it all the time."

Well I really didn't want ANOTHER tree, but it did give me a good idea. I went out and cut some of the branches off of it. I trimmed the bottoms to a stick and stuffed them in one of the many vases that I have lying around the house.
I went over to the local flower shop and bought some white lilly's (my most favorite flower!) and I put them in the vase. Then I added some brown berry buds. I really wanted red holly berry but they were out, so I just had to settle for the brown.
I tied a ribbon around the vase and it is now my table centerpiece. ( I made one for Ryan and Jamie too since they let me have the pine branches)
If I had it to do over again, I would put some of those clear, red or white glass beads in the bottom of the vase first. If you decide to make one of your own remember a couple of rules:

-Always decorate in odd numbers. Whether you are decorating a tree, or putting flowers in a vase. For example, if you make this arrangement, either put 3 or 5 lilly's in the vase. Not 2 or 4. Same with the holly berry. Odd numbers!

-Another thing, lilly's can be fragile, their buds can break off easily so be careful handling them.

-Keep the water in the vase full so that your arrangement will last as long as possible.

-And lastly, I picked lilly's not only because they are my favorite flower but because they last long. The buds will continue to bloom and they have a strong smell. (only downfall is that they are a little expensive) The berries will last a long time and so will the pine branches. You can always substitute berries for red carnations. They last a long time too.

Clam Chowder

2 8oz cans of minced clams
1 c. chopped celery
2 c. diced potatoes
1 c. diced onion
3/4 c. diced carrot

3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour

1 quart half & half
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
couple dashes of pepper

Drain the juice from your clams and put into a medium sauce pot along with your vegetables. Add just enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Simmer until tender. (approx. 20 min)

While the vegetables are simmering, in a separate pot melt your butter and add the flour. Blend and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add your half & half to the butter mixture.
While stirring constantly, cook on medium high heat until it becomes smooth and THICK. (about as thick as yogurt) Remove from heat. (it will continue to thicken as it stands) Add your sugar, salt and pepper to your half & half mixture
When the veggies are tender, add them ALONG with the water. Stir them together. You can add extra salt and pepper if you like more.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Jeff thinks that cats are evil, awful, ugly, horrible creatures put here on earth to torment man. He can't stand them. Especially kittens - especially when they purr.

Really? KITTENS??? Kittens??? I don't understand.

I, on the other hand happen to love cats! I think they are sweet and cute and I love it when they purr. Especially kittens!
That is..... I love cats 90% of the time.

There I was last night, or rather this morning because it was 12:31 am, sitting in my bedroom in my chair reading my book. I was in the part of the book where the killer finally catches up with her prey. She strikes by hitting her prey with a rock to knock her prey loopy and then she pushes her off a cliff. Pretty intense part. Not to mention the fact that Jeff has been out of the country for the past 2 weeks straight. When much to my dismay, I hear an awful sound just outside my window. My legs went weak. You know that feeling you get when you almost crash your car or something like that and you get all shaky inside? Well that is how my legs felt. I then realized that it was a cat making those howling sounds that they do when they are mating. I HATE THAT SOUND!!! I tried banging on my window to get it to leave but it didn't. 14 minutes later when it was still at it, howling and moaning, I had the thought run through my mind to fill my mop bucket full of cold water, trudge outside in the 30 degree weather and walk barefoot in the snow and douse the stupid animal with the water! Thankfully it finally stopped and I didn't have to go out.
And in times like this, this is when I agree with Jeff on the whole cat issue. Don't you just hate that sound? I especially hate it when I am sound asleep and I get woken up to it.

(And by the way, they girl that got hit with the rock and pushed off the cliff survived. Her prince charming came riding in on his white horse to save the day and the would be killer was taken care of. You know me. I love books that start out with a "once upon a time" and end with a "and they lived happily ever after!")

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's for dinner?

I love shepherd's pie

My mom used to make it all the time when I was young. She would mix her ground beef with a can of cream of mushroom soup, then she would put a can of beans for the next layer and then the mashed potatoes with cheese. I always loved it because it was the only kind I had ever had. When I got married, my mother in law made it slightly different. Sorry mom, yours is good but I like my mother in laws better!

My mother in law mixes a can of tomato soup with her beef, then she puts a can of corn for the next layer, then her mashed potatoes. She sprinkles a little cheese on top of her potatoes, I sprinkle A LOT of cheese on top of mine! (Can you tell that I like cheese?)
If you have never made shepherd's pie before, it is a sinch!

First layer: Brown 1 pound ground beef
add a can of soup (tomato or cream of mushroom)
Second layer: A can of either beans or corn
Third layer: Mashed potatoes with sprinkled cheese on top

*The meat and potatoes are already hot, but you still need to put it in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes. Just to heat the vegetables and melt the cheese.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Night at the Museum

Every year at my children's school the 5th grade classes do something called Night at the Museum. The students are given a list of characters to choose from, living and non. Then they have to write a one page report on that character, memorize it, dress up like them, make a backdrop, get table decorations and present it for 2 days. Sidney's character was Pocahontas. She did a great job. Most of this work is what I like to call "mom homework".
(I thought I graduated a LONG time ago.... Why am I still having to do homework?)
Sidney's BFF Grace was Harriet Tubman
Grace's brother Brandt was Paul Revere
Sidney's other BFF Natalie was Diane Crump
And Sidney's other friend Conner was Trevor Brazil.
These kids did a great job! I was so impressed with all the 5th graders.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


My neighbor called me first thing this morning. She was ranting and raving about this "take home reader" book that her 2nd grader had brought home yesterday. (at our school the teacher's send home books for the kids to read as part of their reading. you have to listen to them read and sign them off as to how well they read and understood the book. they call them take home readers) Well her 2nd grader came home with this book called "Mom's Diet".

I went over and read it and I could not believe how ridiculous it was! It is entirely about this mom who you find out in the book is divorced. She is overweight and because she has no husband to council with, she councils with her children The WHOLE book is about her on the scale, her trying to make the kids eat ....... just tomatoes and lettuce or parsley and carrots with broiled fish. At least the author put broiled fish in one of the meals and her saying she is just too heavy. The kids are always complaining because they want to eat spagetti.

Then the kids go over to "Dad's house". The kids are going through the fridge and dad had turkey and cake and all kinds of things in his fridge. They are acting all starved and looking for spagetti from him. Dad has this smug look on his face as he says, "Let me guess.... Your mom is on a diet."

I was a little un-nerved because I have 2 daughters, who like most all girls , will worry about their weight at some point. I know that there is a huge obesity problem in America and a lot of the critic's complain because the supermodels are too skinny. Well, after reading this "school approved take home book", I think the problem is elsewhere too! I am totally overweight myself and you know what, the truth is that I just need to cut out the junk and exercise. I do NOT council with my kids about it. My husband, mom and friends yes..... My kids, NO. The book ends with the mom giving up on her diet. The kids say, "We like you just how you are. You are our cuddly mom."

Do you think this book is absurd? You really need to go to my friends blog and read the whole book and see all the pictures. Especially the very end one. It's a picture of the mom eating a doughnut. Her blog address is:


You gotta go to her blog and read the entire thing!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Babes In Hairland

I found this great blog that is chuck full of hair style ideas! I don't know how this lady comes up with so many. I went to beauty school and I could not even think of half of these. She gives step by step instructions with pictures and video of all kinds of up do's, loopy looking buns, 4 strand braids, corkscrew twists, etc. Check it out! It's one of my new favorite blogs.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Leaves

Jens and Sidney went out and raked up the leaves ...... AGAIN today. Everyone was happy until Molly didn't get her way.
Here she is just about to stick her tongue out at us.

Until she got her way. A little because she is 3, and a little because I think she is so cute.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Welcome to Halloween in Utah

This year for Halloween Caden was a hunter, Sidney a clown (which freaked Jens out even though it was his own sister) Jens was a Cowboy's fan and Molly was Fancy Nancy. About 2 minutes before we took this picture a wicked hail storm came in. The wind was blowing so hard and I was thinking that the power might get knocked out. We were actually just about to walk outside to take the picture when it hit.
We waited for the storm to pass and then we went out when it was only lightly raining. I should have taken a picture of my deck with all the hail on it. The sky was so dark. The kids quickly ran around our neighborhood.
But we got a pretty rainbow out of the storm. I remember when I was a kid going out trick or treating several times IN snow. Halloween costumes always have to be designed around a sweat suit or coat. Miss Molly wanted to be a fairy. But I told her sorry, you live in Utah! No one would even see the costume. They would only see the jacket you wore. And if she was Fancy Nancy, then she could wear the pink fur costume coat which would go right along with something Nancy would wear.
About 1 hour later it was finally done storming. You can see in the top right corner where the clouds have opened up and the sky is light. That is how light the sky should have been all over but it isn't, it's totally black. We went over to Jeff's brother Sam's house for our annual Halloween dinner and trick or treating with the cousins.
Cade was really excited because he got "school milk" from some older lady in Sam's neighborhood. I thought it was odd......... but he was excited. All the kids got one so I let him drink it.
Alli,(katelyn's friend) Katelyn and Sidney the clowns. All the cousins came on both sides of the family plus half of them brought a friend so there were 20+ kids.
Molly and the little girl cousins.
Jens and a few of his friends, the cousins and a couple of their friends.