Monday, December 24, 2012

Heaven Ornament

Ashley really wanted to give these to her Grandma Leslie and Henry since Grandma Sally died this year. She is so sentimental. Sadly we were unable to find any. So we will have to make a bookmark today before the festivities.

I did just find this link though...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lost in Potomac- mansion sightseeing

So today I was actually lost. I say "actually" because although I often can't find my way I still maintain a sense of orientation. Today that was gone. It may have been because I was quite fond of the road I found myself on...that would be River Road in Potomac Maryland.

Did you know that Potomac has the 7th most expensive real estate in the country? I believe it!

The homes are from 24,000 to 40,000 square feet. But my very favorite part was the variety. The home styles vary from Colonial to Normandy to French Neo-Classic.

Here's a peek at some of the ones I got to see.

Oh what a lovely driveway...

Love the garage and driveway. Oh, and don't forget the pool house...

Almost 40,000 square feet? At least your thighs would get a workout on all the stairs, but then again who needs that with a gym in the house?

Now, you may be wondering why I am sharing this. It is not that I aspire to have a home like this one day. Nor that I wish I were rich. It is because right now everyone is checking out the lovely Christmas lights and this trip was just as exciting as that. It was amazing and beautiful and jaw-dropping! (with some adrenaline seeing as I was seriously LOST!!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Rolls

Last week my friend made sweet potato rolls that were so good I just had to try my hand at them. However, since she is out of town and I couldn't find a recipe that sounded like what she described I had to create my own recipe. She had mentioned cardamom and of course, I forgot to add it! (forgetting stuff is my biggest problem when I don't go by a recipe)

I seriously miscalculated how wet the potatoes would be so instead of making 24 rolls it made 40 round rolls. They are fluffy and moist (very much like a regular old potato roll!).

Sweet Potato Roll Recipe
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tblsp. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 cup sweet potato, cooked and mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup dry powdered milk
5-6 cups flour (or 7 or 8, I sort of lost count)

Activate the yeast in the warm water and sugar. Beat in salt, potato, eggs, butter, powdered milk and 3 cups of flour. Beat for 5 minutes or until smooth and glossy. With dough hook knead in the remaining flour. Your dough should be stiff with a slight stickiness to the touch, maybe due to the starch in the potatoes. It shouldn't stick to your fingers though.

Set in a warm place and let it rise to double. I like to warm my oven up a little until it feels like I could crawl in there to take a nap and put the dough in there.

Punch the dough down and let it rest a few minutes while you butter up a cookie sheet. Roll your little balls of dough and place them about a finger apart from each other on the cookie sheet. I fit all 40 on one large sheet.

Let rise until almost double. Preheat oven to 400. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Brush tops with butter while hot.

Serve with cinnamon honey butter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pumpkin Pie & Buttermilk Crust Recipe

In preparation for Thanksgiving I made this pie...

and thought I'd share my recipe for pumpkin pie with a fabulous flakey pie crust.  I love this recipe because it just has a few ingredients and it always sets up perfectly for me.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe
1 9 inch pie crust, unbaked
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Prepare crust. Beat pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk and eggs. Mix in spices and salt. Pour into prepared pie crust.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 and cover the crust with foil. Bake at 350 for another 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream.

Buttermilk Pie Crust Recipe
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup buttermilk

Cut dry ingredients together with butter and oil. Mix in buttermilk. Do not over mix. Rollout and place in a 9 inch pie pan. Cut the edges and pipe them. There should be some extra dough after you have cut the edges off.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall 2012 Shoe Trends

It is hunting season here in Idaho. So, as all the men in town go out hunting I am ready to do some hunting of my own. Every Fall I look forward to learning the new shoe trends and hunting down the best deals.

This morning I slipped my foot into a soft suede boot that's been in storage for 5 months. It felt heavenly and I decided to share the boot trends first.

If you slouch boots, never fear! it is still part of this years' style. However, this Fall you get to put aside "Pirates of the Caribbean" and welcome your inner biker. The boot style for today is buckles upon buckles.

And did I mention zippers? Colored zippers?
Heels on boots are wide or flat (which is great for the snowy places).
Now onto the flats. Here we are looking for gold and silver embellishments (from toe to heel).

Heel tags and tipped toes (primarily metallic)...
And finally, the creme de la creme, my favorites, pumps... or as some like to call them "stilettos".

The trend that I cannot yet embrace is fur, so this tulle is as close as I'll get....
Straps and studs....

And if you are thinking these are all too biker/punk/rocker for you the vintage style Mary Janes are a great choice (I love that they speak to the dancer in me)... 
Last of all, we have the shoe I will dream of wearing on my next date with my dear husband (at $1200 it will have to stay in my imaginary shoe closet).
There you have it. This years' best trends for every occasion.

Happy shoe hunting!!

Now aren't you glad I stopped drooling long enough to share these amazing new trends with you? ;o)

P.S. I just re-read this to check out the furry shoes that my dearest friend from years ago said she quite liked (that's my spunky little Heather) and realized I forgot the snake or croc skin. Yep! Just like most every other Fall, skin is in. In every color. With spikes and spurs. Sequined or studded. Get the picture? Well, my favorites were these darling yellow ones. Besides the fact that I have an uncommonly strong weakness for yellow, I think the addition of a wood layered heel and platform finalized the natural femininity of this pump.

**Pictures are from 6pm and Zappos

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall 2012

Fire Tree??

I look forward to the Fall for so many reasons, like:
1) the rows of canned goods lined on my storage shelves
2) cool breezes and sunny shadows
3) piles of leaves to jump into
4) drives through the colorful mountains with a funny family

5) collecting leaves to make bookmarks

6) wearing my favorite jeans and sweaters
7) boots, and socks, and SHOES!!

So every year I sit and take inventory of what the new styles are for this cool breezy season. This year I love because the colors are brighter and much more fun than some of the previous years. I mean who wouldn't want to wear magenta jeans with a yellow shirt and purple sweater??? Or a turquoise and orange dress with tall boots???

Here are some pictures to wet your palate...

Lovely, no?

So if you are dying for a shopping spree...I'd love to join you!

**If you are wondering where the shoes are, fear not, I have a whole post dedicated to those lovely foot accessories!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Veggie Bean Burgers

Before starting the veggie burgers I made some yummy buns with this recipe from Holy Cow Vegan... Whole Wheat Burger Buns

Buns in a basket...

Up close...

After I'd found a great bun recipe, I searched high and low for the best veggie burger recipe. Since most of them had such high reviews I decided to combine a few to make my own.

Here's my new recipe...

Bean Burgers
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper
3 baby carrots, finely grated
1 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. mustard
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 cups quick oats (I just used whole oats and processed them a little in my vitamix)

Mash beans with a potato masher. Chop onion and red pepper. Add to the beans. Mix everything else in. Shape patties on wax paper.

(at this point you can cook them or freeze them for another day)

Heat a skillet on Med-high. Spray with oil. Cook patties 4 minutes on each side. They will get some black spots but are super tasty that way.

Pile on a bun with all your favorite toppings...mmmm!!!

Plum Syrup Canning Recipe

So you may remember this picture...

From this post Banana Stuffed French Toast with Plum Syrup

Yes, I'm drooling just looking at it! I have had a whole lot of requests for the syrup recipe, but couldn't find it anywhere. Distressing? I know!! Well, my food storage shelf is now empty right where the plum syrup should be so I felt extra motivated to find the recipe. Yippee!

Plum Syrup

10 cups plum juice (I use a steam juicer, but you can get the juice whatever way works for you)
14 cups sugar
1 pouch *Certo liquid pectin

Bring juice and sugar to a rolling boil (one that doesn't stop when you stir). Add pectin and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute (this activates the pectin).

Makes 4 quarts + 1 cup

**This is the recipe doubled. I find it too tedious to split a liquid pectin into two parts. But you can make it that way if you want smaller portions.

* You will get different thicknesses of syrup depending on the pectin you use, but this is the one I like.

To can this recipe you can process your jars of syrup in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. This is my favorite site for canning instructions:

Pick Your Own- Plum Jelly

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eat to Live- Food Pyramid

I have been doing "Eat to Live" by Dr. Furhman in hopes of getting rid of these migraines. I am feeling pretty good but sometimes forget what the best food choices are. So I thought I'd post this for easy reference...

If you haven't read Dr. Furhman's book I highly recommend it. Here are just a few things discussed in the book:

1) the importance of getting nutrients through our food versus through a supplement
2) health= nutrients/calories (our foods should be nutrient rich)
3) the impact of animal foods and processed foods on our health (no need to go vegan)
4) the China Project, the Mediterranean diet and other cultures' diets

Very interesting read!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Just thought I'd share one of my favorite summer salads...

Mexican Quinoa Salad 
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup quinoa

Heat water to boiling. Add quinoa and cover with lid. Lower heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Cool.
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/2 small jalapeƱo, finely chopped (I leave this out if using spicy salsa)
2 green onions, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained and rinsed (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 handful chopped cilantro
1/2 cup salsa (if I have pico I use that)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt to taste 

Add remaining ingredients to the cooled quinoa. Lightly toss together until well coated by the salsa and oil. 

Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Just to wet you palate I am adding this picture from

Friday, May 18, 2012

Camper for sale *Sold

We are selling our 1978 Rancho El Rae 23' camp trailer. It has been wonderful and I love the layout with nice open spaces.

*We are asking $1500 for this camp trailer, but the price is negotiable.

Two years ago Jesse replaced the tires and the toilet. He also built shelves into several of the closets/cupboards. Great working fridge, stove, oven and heater. Tons of storage space. Linoleum floor makes for super easy clean up.

Here are some pics for those of you interested (don't try to orient yourself because I took them with my computer so they are all backwards):

Table that turns into bed- cushions are newly re-done:
Sink & fridge:
Kitchen & bedroom:
Kitchen & closet:
Kitchen & table:
Bunk bed over table:
Sink & toilet:
Sink & tub:
 Stove & oven:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

God reveals His secrets to His prophets

A friend posted this on Facebook today and I can't help but share it...mostly so that I can re-read it and try to remember that the life the Lord has given me is full of joy and beauty as well as trials.

“ A pebble held close to the eye appears to be a gigantic obstacle. Cast on the ground, it is seen in perspective. Likewise, problems or trials in our lives need to be viewed in the perspective of scriptural doctrine. Otherwise they can easily overtake our vision, absorb all our energy, and deprive us of the joy and beauty the Lord intends us to receive here on earth.” 
                                                          -Richard G. Scott

I had a few really good days. I slept a lot, but I also was able to see, walk and work around the house. I even drove to pocatello to have a visit with my oh so knowledgable psychologist. I love it when my head is clear enough to think...which it really isn't today so I am going to take a small nap.

I want to remember Amos 3:7 ... God reveals his secrets to His prophets. Their words can help me if I listen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Self-worth vs. Depression

The past few weeks have certainly been challenging, probably more so for my dear husband and children than they have been for me. As the world has spun around me, literally, I have reached aimlessly for pieces of my life to help ground me. It seems over and over again my hands come back empty. I have spent years defining myself through my accomplishments. Clean kitchen. Check. Folded laundry. Check. Dinner on the table. Kids tucked in bed. A 30 minute show in my husband's arms. Check. Check. Check. At the end of the day I could say, "Look what I've done...I'm a pretty good wife and mother. I have a purpose. I am of worth."

So what can I say for myself when my greatest accomplishment of the day is getting to the bathroom without a cane? Or visiting with the kids without a blindfold over my eyes? Or on a good day, pouring a bowl of cereal for my four year old instead of having him eat it out of the box?

This feeling of inadequacy often leaves me questioning my self worth, and these are the moments when I ask the Lord why he spared me and if it wouldn't have just been easier to let that darn blood vessel bleed in my head. Such un-grattitude leads me deep into an abyss of hopelessness.

In an effort to avoid that dark depression, so often wanting to suck me in, I have worked to find some things to hold on to and bring me a sense of stability. This is what I have learned:

1) I am not defined by how much I get done, but by the fact that I am a child of God. Molded by His hands. Loved by Him. Strengthened through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. God loves me for the strength of my spirit, not the strength of my body. Not only that, but He loves me so much that He allowed Christ to suffer excruciating pains so that I can live with Him for eternity! Seriously? He doesn't care that I use a cane and sometimes stutter!

2) Every moment with my children is an opportunity to really be with them and feel their love. Even if I wear a blindfold or ear plugs their sweet touch is healing. Dallin rubbed my feet with lotion (granted he wanted me to pay him like his Grandma does) but the gentle touch of his hands brought me a sense of peace and love.

Well, okay...I am sad to say that these are the only two things I feel strongly about right now. There are so many thoughts flying through my head and making me forget my blessings, but I am trying to hold onto the ones that calm me. That's all I can do. Just Try.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thunderclap Headache

Jaden can't sleep because he is too worried about what he's seen happening to me (i.e.: me collapsing and stuttering). For those of you who have shared his worries I hope this answers questions and provides some relief.

What I am experiencing is the result of a thunderclap headache (occurred on Sunday night and was pretty disturbing). Usually this burst on your brain is caused by bleeding or clotting. Mine had no bleeding which is not only fortunate, but lifesaving. We had to do extensive testing, including the world's worst spinal tap, to make sure there is no trace of blood or swelling on my brain. The only residual effect of this thunderclap is damage to my nervous system. This is temporary and with a lot of rest I should get better. The doctor does not know how long I will have the stroke-like symptoms (could be days, weeks or months) but we should know my general trajectory within the next 3-5 days.

We are so grateful that it wasn't as bad as it could have been. And especially grateful for the wonderful friends who have rushed me to the doctor, made dinner, cleaned the house and loved our children. Our Grace family is truly amazing!!


(Jaden picked the banner colors for the thank you and they are so not my style but I'll humor him...)

P.S. If you ever feel like your head has been shut down and rebooted or suddenly slammed by cymbals-
Go to an ER immediately!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bird Watching

Many of you know that we love to hike and camp as a family...actually I usually lay on a blanket and read or sleep. So we decided we are going to start birding on our trips.

This morning I saw a lovely Mr. this one.

Last Saturday was our first bird watching trip. We went to Formation Springs where we also got to explore all the little caves.

Here is our bird log for the first 5 days of our new goal:
Pretty fun!!

So here are the questions I have for you:

What are the best bird guides? Which ones are kid friendly?