Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recipe Swap Wednesday-White Chili

Today I'm sending you elsewhere for a yummy recipe. And I haven't even changed anything in it. This past weekend I made my friend Michelle's Award Winning White Chili and it was fabulous.

So go here and make this recipe soon. It's perfect for all this stormy weather.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh The Brutality

Last night I went back to spinning for the first time since.....I don't know, last spring? I expected it to be hard. It was the pain that I didn't expect. Who expects that kind of pain in your knee while cycling?! The first mile and a half was good. The next eight and a half were not so good. Today, I'm long as I don't sit anything hard...or move too fast....or think about it. Yep, spinning kicked my trash. We'll see about next week. But if anyone wants to send me presents to make me feel better about my shocking out-of-shapeness, please feel free.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Favorite-State Fair

Last weekend we went to the State Fair and had a fabulous time. It was the first time we've ever been as a family and we all had a great time. It was windy that evening and that was rough, but other than that there were plenty of sparkly lights and random people watching to enjoy.
We especially enjoyed the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit. It's a fun activity for kids that help city kids, such as mine, connect farms to grocery stores.

We don't get a lot of farm action around here so it was lots of fun for the girls. Dexter is the closest thing we have to a farm animal, but I am trying to talk CG into getting chickens. I'll let you know if that ever happens.

Another favorite from the night was a Jazz trio that was playing. Both girls sat on the bleachers completely mesmerized by the music. The fresh kettle corn didn't hurt either.
The girls in front of the giant metal spider. Not creepy at all.
How we kept track of the girls in the crowd since our stroller had a flat tire...."bracelets".
And the requisite butter carving.
Dancing cows. Classic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

Tonight, as I was tucking Lolly into bed, she was singing lovely songs to me of her own invention. I love it when she sings these songs....they're usually about loving her doting mother or something else along those lines and often include current events in her life.

Of course, her singing always gets compliments from me because I love it. Tonight, when I told her how wonderful her singing was, she said the following....

"I just can't believe how lucky I am to sing so well!"

That is just fabulous!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tip Tuesday-Don't Get Sick

Just don't do it. It's not nearly as glamorous or exciting as you have been led to believe. It just makes you whiny. In my case, whinier. I've been self medicating with Mountain Dew and chocolate, but so's not working. I'm still sick. Stupid germs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Best Salsa Ever!

My sister first had this salsa at a family gathering (other side of family) and said it was fabulous. She sent me the link to the recipe here. But I had to fiddle with it a little because 20 lbs. is a lot of tomatoes and I lack in the freezer space required to store that much salsa. So here is the recipe that I used to make a batch of salsa just last week.

Best Salsa Ever
10 lbs. tomatoes
1 c. cilantro, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves
4 jalapenos
1 c. green peppers, chopped
1 tbsp. cumin
1/8 c. sea salt
1/8 c. vinegar
3 large limes, juiced

Core and blanch tomatoes to remove skins. I learned the hard way that it's easier to core them before blanching. But maybe I did it wrong? Also, a food processor would probably make this go a lot faster. I felt like I was chopping for HOURS. Combine all ingredients into a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until desired thickness is reached. I simmered it for about 1.5 hours before I couldn't take it anymore and had to get it canned. Next time I make this, I will strain out some of the tomato water to help speed up the process of thickening.

Process in water bath canner for 15 minutes. Makes 7 pints, plus a little extra to taste.

And, in case you were wondering, this is what 10 lbs. of tomatoes from our garden looks like. That can of Mountain Dew shown is to give you a little proportion. And to get me through the day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tip Tuesday-Healthy Communication!

CG and I are excellent communicators! We're known for it amongst all our family and friends. And today I have a wonderful example that we can all learn from together!

A few weeks ago, our little family got to attend the baby blessing of my cousin's first son. He's a darling baby, the blessing was beautiful and then we got to spend some time with our extended family afterward. A truly fabulous day.

Shortly after we arrived at their house for dessert, I told CG that I was going to go inside to see if I could help. Because that is what we Mormon women do....we help! Or at least try to, in my particular circumstances. Whenever I try to help someone out, it blows up in my face in spectacular ways. But that's another post for another day.

I was inside the (air conditioned!) house chatting with my Aunt and Uncle C.....there wasn't anything I could do to help. And perhaps my "helping" reputation precedes me. We don't see each other all that often and it was wonderful to just chat. AND! They were telling me that they read my blog! And they like it! And I was totally flattered and excited. Actually, just typing that makes me glow all over again. (Seriously guys, you totally made my day telling me that. Thank you so much! **glowing**)

As this conversation was taking place, CG walks in to the house having been looking for me. I said "Hi!". He then said to me, "your girls are watching everyone else eat waiting for you to bring them something". He was clearly annoyed. And I responded in the way that any intelligent woman would....I stared at him with my mouth hanging open in shock. The timing was both horrible and fabulous. Horrible because I had just been basking in compliments, which, let's face it, I don't get much of. Fabulous because, well, it's good blog fodder.

It seems as though when I said "I'm going to go help", CG actually heard "I'm going to go get some treats for the girls". Needless to say, our girls were well fed within minutes of this conversation, but the embarrassment is just a gift that keeps on giving. CG felt bad because he could tell from the look on my face that he'd just made a faux pas. Or maybe it was from the lack of look on my face. I understood how he felt though and it all worked out and we're still married. But the timing! Oh, the timing! At least we all know this isn't a "good parenting" blog now. It's more of a "real parenting" blog. Or maybe slacker?

Ironically, he walked right past the dessert table (without seeing it) in search of me. We'll just blame this on the heat, shall we?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Entertainment

Today during Lolly's preschool, Babs and I headed to Albertsons to do a little shopping. We had the doubles coupons from yesterdays paper and $10 in catalinas (coupons earned from previous grocery shopping) to spend because they expired today. Here's a lovely picture of the spoils of this particular war.
Total before coupons: $34.38
Total after coupons: $5.18

Wahoo! That's a 75% savings, my friends! I'd like to say that I'm smart enough to do it on my own, but we all know better. Full credit belongs to Utah Deal Diva.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Favorite-Timpanogos Storytelling Festival

Last weekend my family was lucky enough to go to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. We had such a great time! We didn't make it until late Friday afternoon, but we did get to see some puppet action and attend the Bedtime Stories event. There were 3 youth tellers and 3 professional tellers and it was amazing! My goal was to get something out of everything that we went to. That may sound simple, but with my two little darlings it ain't easy. From the Bedtime Stories I got "don't waste the kleenex". And donuts and milk. Which were yummy.
Lolly also found a cool red rock which just made the whole night that much cooler.
On Saturday we were able to attend a couple of the storytelling events in between puppet shows.
I wanted to take the girls to the Washboard Music time with Angel Lloyd. We missed it on Friday, but were able to catch up a bit on Saturday. It was lots of fun and kid noise was not so noticeable in that particular environment. The girls did well for the first 10 minutes, but lost interest after that. Thankfully, the pavilion we were in had a mulch floor that provided plenty of entertainment for the remainder of the time.

Here are a few pictures of us working the washboard.
And the tuna can....
From this particular event I learned that it's natural for the mind to wander and that sometimes we have to do some, um, creative things to get the attention back. Note to self for future....

After the next puppet show we headed to listen to Bil Lepp. He's a storyteller that I had really wanted CG to see. The girls lasted about 5 minutes (as long as the ice cream lasted) and then were spectacularly bored. I learned at this event that if I really want to sit and listen, it's best to get a baby sitter for the 2 & 4 year olds. Note to self for future...

So, the girls and I headed for the Pottery Pavilion so that CG could enjoy the stories in peace. It was a lot of fun and the pottery wheels were so fascinating! I think the girls had fun to. I've done quite a bit of ceramics in my time, but I've never had a chance to use a pottery wheel. Hmmmm...maybe that should be my next community class to take...

Here are some pictures of my cute girls first introduction to pottery. CG got there just in time with the camera.
CG and I were lucky enough to get tickets to one of the shows on Saturday night. It was called Side By Side and it was two story tellers who are newlyweds. It was funny and sweet. I have no pictures from this because I was just too into everything that was going on that I didn't take any. This was the only event that I got to pay complete attention to because my girls were home with Grandma Van.

So, what did I learn from this weekend? GO TO THE STORYTELLING FESTIVAL! Every year on Labor Day weekend. Even if you can only make it to one of their evening shows, it's totally worth it to go. And the tickets to those events are only $8/person. It's the same price as going to a movie, but WAY better. CG and I have already decided that we're going to definitely go to the Laughin' Night at the SCERA Shell in Orem next year. It's such a wonderful experience and you really can learn something when you can just sit and listen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Lolly started preschool this week and it was very exciting! And kind of, I don't know...

Here is a picture of Lolly with her teacher. She was a little nervous I think, but wanted me to understand that I was not supposed to stay during class.
Here is poor Babs reaction when she realized that Lolly was not actually coming home with us until after her class. She didn't appreciate me taking her picture. But she did receive some sympathy and extra snuggles to console her. After I got the picture, of course.
I'm hoping that she adjusts as she realizes that she will now get Mommy all to herself a few times a week while Lolly is at school. Yep, I'll just keep hoping.......

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Bread & Butter Pickles

These pickles are a HUGE hit around our house. The recipe came from one of my favorite canning books. It has simple instructions for any kind of canning. It's so simple, even I can do it!

Bread & Butter Pickles
4 pounds pickling cucumbers
3 onions
Ice water, about 4-6 quarts
1/2 cup kosher or pickling salt (I use pickling)
5 cups granulated sugar (no wonder they're so popular)
4 cups distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2.5 teaspoons celery seed
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
Step 1: Slice the cucumbers into 1/4 inch think rounds (I use a crinkle cutter). Peel the onions and cute them in half length-wise from the tip to the bottom core. Lay them on a cutting board, cute side down and slice them to a 1/4 inch thickness. Place the cucumber and onion slices in a pickling crock or large bowl. Sprinkle them with salt. Add ice water to cover the vegetables. Stir them once, then cover the bowl and let the veggies stand at room temperature for 3 hours. Transfer the veggies to a colander and rinse them thoroughly with running water. Drain well. Roll the pieces in a clean, dry kitchen towel to partially dry them.
Step 2: Prepare your canning jars and two piece caps (lids and screw bands) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Keep the jars and lids hot.

Step 3: Combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric in a large stock pot. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and mix the spices. Add the vegetables and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Warning....inhaling this concoction can be painful. So don't do it. You'll thank me later.

Step 4: Pack the hot pickles into the prepared jars, leaving headspace of 1/4 inch. Add the hot liquid, leaving a headspace of 1/4 inch. Release any air bubbles with a nonreactive tool.
Step 5: Wipe the jar rims; seal the jars with the two-piece caps, hand tightening the bands. Process your filled jars in a water bath for 15 minutes from the point of boiling. Remove the jars with a jar lifter. Place them on a clean kitchen towel away from drafts. After the jars cool completely, test the seals. If you find jars that haven't sealed, refrigerate and use within 2 months.

And after all that hard work you will end up with beautiful jars of this......

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quote of the Day

There are just some things that you never expect to say as a parent.
Here is today's:

Lolly: wandering into the kitchen with a plastic wand-like thing from a kids meal in her mouth
Me: "Don't put that in your mouth! That's been in bums!"
Lolly: calmly removes wand-like thing from her mouth and wanders back out of kitchen

I'm still laughing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Favorite-2 for 1

I just couldn't pick between my two Friday Favorites today so I decided to go ahead and post them both. They're both just so cute, you'll understand.

Friday Favorite #1-Baby L
This is the newest addition to our family. She's my brothers fourth child and is so sweet. When I was at their house visiting, she didn't make a sound the entire time. She was just happy to be there.

Friday Favorite #2-Two Big Girl Ponies!
Aren't these two big girl ponies on my little Babs so adorable?! I love them. Those ponies make me smile every time I look at them. They're addicting.

Happy Friday everyone! We're going to The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival today and tomorrow so I'm very happy for this weekend. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back To School Shopping

Technically, I guess it was "To School" shopping since this is the first time we're going to an official school. And it is official. Lolly is signed up to start at her new preschool next week and we're all very excited.

A couple of weeks ago Lolly and I went on our very first school clothes shopping trip. It was quite the day. We were going to lunch, just the two of us, and she got to pick any place she wanted. She picked the "pizza store" which you might know as Sam's Club. She got her own hot dog and drink. Very grown up.

Then we headed out for a little retail therapy.

I still can't believe my baby girl is going to preschool. Also? She's adorable.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Seriously, People?!

I could hardly believe this when I read it. At least no one hit me during my unfortunate parking lot encounter. What is with some people?!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tip Tuesday-Seriously, People?!

I had a wonderful Tip Tuesday all planned out for today. It was about communication in a relationship. And I've got some true gems to share. But my day didn't quite go as expected. This afternoon, just minutes before we were finally going to go see the new preschool teacher, Lolly decided to throw up in the hallway. And all over the bathroom. Needless to say, we didn't go meet the teacher. On the bright side, CG was home early for work and got to clean up that mess while I cleaned up Lolly. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Unfortunately, my day got decidedly worse after that. I had to run to the store to get Babs some potty training pants to wear under her swimsuit because we start swim lessons up this week. I thought that since CG was home, it would be the perfect opportunity to run my quick errand while Babs napped and Lolly rested. Who knew what awaited me at my local Walmart.

As I was leaving the store, I saw that 2 women and their babies were getting into the car next to mine. So, to be courteous, I walked around to the other side and put my bags behind the drivers seat. We have a van so the sliding doors make it easy for us to slide in and out, all slithery-like. But the woman who was using the door next to my van seemed.....irritated. She actually seemed like she's probably irritated all the time. And a lot of fun to be around.

Now, whenever I'm getting my kids in or out of the car, I feel a little awkward if someone is standing there waiting for me to finish so they can carry on with whatever they're doing. So, thinking I was being courteous, I hurried and slipped into my car so I'd be out of the way. And there were inches, INCHES, between our doors so it wasn't a big deal. Until she said "don't let me get in your way". Um, what?! Like I said, a lot of fun to be around. Now, in my naivety I thought that maybe I had just misunderstood her or something and didn't say anything back. Also, I'm horrible at confrontation. So, since the women were both on the other side of their car talking (probably about me) I decided to just go ahead a pull out and be out of the way. Apparently that is offensive. Because as I drove away on classy lady yelled "you're a winner" while flipping me off and the other classy lady called me a bitch. To her credit, she may have said witch, but the intent is the same so you're not exactly scoring extra points in heaven for not swearing.

And I reacted to this encounter the way any mature, socially responsible individual who is just barely hanging on to what is left of her sanity would. I cried. Because, seriously?! Why did that just happen? And, also, I'm not coping super well these days and didn't handle their random meanness very well. I've never had that happen to me before. Complete strangers yelling at me in a parking's just so......white trash.

It is taking every ounce of self control to not post a full car description, including license plate number, so that all my millions of followers can track them down and harass them. But I'm not going to do that, at least not tonight, because I'd like to think that I'm a better person than that. And as much as I didn't want to let that ruin my day, or effect me at all, it did. It has been stuck in me all afternoon. Even now, I'm still upset about it. And that bugs me even more. So, I am going to go drown my sorrows by eating ice cream. Straight from the carton. Because I am a winner.
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