Sunday, September 26, 2010

Coming soon....Building Room

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We have been busy building Josh's room this summer. Josh, mom and dad all working together in between school, work, fun, chores and life in general. BUT! Alas we are nearly done. Josh is about to bust at the seams to finally have a place to call his own. I am excited for him. He has been ever so patient, even willing to give his corner of the world up for 1 1/2 months to his uncle!! Yep, he is a good kid. That said it has started to wear on him. He is a displaced kid. I promised him he would be able to move in this weekend. Saturday I got home from my 12 hour night shift and worked down they for 4 hours before finally sleeping before returning to work. Tomorrow I am hoping to put up all his fun decor. Can you guess what we decided to go with? He has had a fishing theme for 5 years so he wanted something different.......

Watch for pictures of the final results! My next BIG PROJECT POST!
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yard Ghosts: project 35 of 52

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I stopped by Michaels and picked up some styrofoam balls. I can't believe how pricey these are getting. They used to be sooo cheap. I went with a smaller size because of the price but realized they were closer to the size of the boys heads anyway, works out better! I also picked up some dowels. I had a sheer drape that I wasn't using in our new home. I had been tempted to send it to the DI but a long piece of fabric can be used for so many things I hung onto it. Now it is transformed into my ghosts.....
One of my dowels snaped off when I was trying to push it into the ground. I think I may have to get bigger dowels but now I just know which ghost is the youngest, 4 boys, 4 ghosts....
during the day you can see through the fabric but Halloween is for the night anyway so I didn't worry about it too much. At dusk they look really cool. I tied the corners of the ghosts together so they look like they are circling the tree.......
Linking up...

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Kitchen Organizing from a Multitasking Mama

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So around 5:00 this is often what can be found around our house....
Muffins in the mixer.....
dinner on the stove....
and the refilling of pantry containers.....
not to mention keeping 4 hungry boys in check until dinner is actually ready. Isn't this level of multi-tasking a prerequisite for moms? Please tell me I'm not the only one.....
While all this was going on my mind was moving onto other topics as well. How about some tips on organizing the kitchen?
I love all the containers I have to hold pantry goods. I buy a lot in bulk so having the containers is a must. The side benefit is the neat and tidy look. I have several different containers for all my kitchen goods.
These hold nuts, corn starch, cocunut (looks like that needs refilled too), canning salt etc. I love how they stack neatly!
Then there are the flour, pasta, sugar, etc containers. The large one was originally for cereal but graduated to holding pasta....
See.. neat and tidy!
I got tired of all the boxes of treats so I pulled the boxes out, clipped the box tops for school and dumped the treats in containers. The only problem is it is harder to hide them from the boys this way. I came upstairs to little boys filling sandwich bags to the brim with goldfish crackers.....
And to wrap it all up here are the muffins I was making. YUMMY! They are from Jamie Cooks It Up! Banana Chocolate Chip muffins. I used cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips. Great way to use up old banana's! They will be gone after breakfast!
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Canning Salsa...project 34 of 52

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I made it to the fruit hyway over Labor Day weekend and picked up some tomatoes. I only got 1 basket for $12. I didn't care for paying for tomatoes since I usually grow our own but the garden went by the wayside this year with the move. I managed to get some tomatoes planted but just for table eating. 
Fast forward to Tuesday and the tomatoes are VERY ripe. After washing they looked delicious. I put them all up into salsa. A nice surprise for Robin, his favorite salsa. Thankfully I had the ginormous pot you gave me Tina! I had it 3/4 full of salsa. Mix in the jalepenos I had frozen from Bountiful Baskets a while back, add a dash of cilantro, savor with salt and spice it up with Spicey Hot V8 and VOILA!
32 pints of the best salsa. Last year I made 2 seperate batches (this was 3x the recipe) and they lasted a little over a month. Wonder how long this will last? Of course I shared lots of it last year too. I also made this more chunky but I wonder if the boys will like the smoother blend of last years batch. We will see. Of course then I had to make another trip to Home Depot for more shelves. I have already filled what shelves I had. I added shelves under the stairs. I love to have things stacked neatly on shelves. The boys love that mom is so organized and can tell them EXACTLY where the salsa is.
Here is the recipe:

Homemade Salsa

5 quarts peeled and diced tomatoes (about 20-25)
5 Tbs cornstarch. Sprinkled over and mixed with cold tomatoes
2 lg bell peppers diced (1 3/4 c) or use a variety for color
3-5 cloves of chopped garlic (or 1/8 tsp dried garlic)
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar
3Tbsp salt to taste
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper seasoning
5-14 Jalapeno peppers depending on how hot you like it. Use rubber gloves when chopping. I used about 5.
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp cilantro
2-3 small cans of spicy hot V-8 or about 3 cups

Combine all ingredients. Place in a large oven proof pan in the oven at 250-300 degrees. You want it to simmer for about 1 1/2 hrs. Stir occasionally. Place in hot clean jars. Pressure cook for 10 minutes at 13 pounds of pressure.
Makes about 14 pints. Beware- they will soon be gone. The recipe doesn't call for onions but I added a couple.....
I'm sure you could use a water bath to seal the bottles too with all the acid already in the recipe you don't have to worry about high temps to kill bacteria....
Sharing this recipe.....
Around My Family Table
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Landscaping with rocks....

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Our backyard has a bit of a slope to it. Thankfully it is not as bad as the houses up the hill but it still meant building some sort of retaining wall to get our somewhat flat yard- a must with our trampoline. We were going to put in a castle rock wall like this....
The cost was going to be quite a bit less than rock but T.I.M.E. is a 4-letter word. We soon realized we just didn't have the time or resources to get all the supplies and build a 3 foot wall properly. Also, I fell in love with the rock wall being put in next door. All things considered we opted to go for the rock wall. It meant giving up our fence for this year but with finishing Josh's room, work, school, and other projects of daily living we just didn't know how we could accomplish everything. I told the landscapers to go ahead with the rock then talked to Robin. Thankfully he agreed (otherwise I would have called the guys).
We were originally planning to just do a straight line.....
Oh, how glad I am we changed our minds! The rock wall looks incredible! It has texture, curves and adds character to our backyard. Frank Powell is the guy who did it for us. He finished the retaining wall but then used his skill and creativity to start our backyard retreat. I was so excited I had to share photos tonight. The rest of the landscaping will go in over the next week or so.....
here is the semi-before. Frank was working on the house next to use. Once we get our landscaping in they won't be able to get tractors back there to work. So even though it hasn't sold yet they opted to do some of the yard work. 
Getting closer to use. They excavated out for us to lay the castle rock but....

I had to change my mind.....

There would have been ALOT of castle rocks to lay. I'm tough but not that tough......
And now the after....

Here is Frank, working hard to create a enjoyable backyard.....

He asked if I trusted him enough to just let him go at it. After seeing his work I didn't have any trouble letting him do what he pictured. I liked his ideas and he seemed to enjoy doing more than just a straight wall. Start with a nice wall and build your landscaping around that- he said. So we did....

He built in stars at the end by the garden.... LOVE IT!
And added a couple of curves for flower beds or even a fire pit- Dutch oven anyone?
At the other end is a gentle slope so that we can get lawnmowers or whatever down to the bottom. We plan to have fruit trees down there.....

Our fence will sit on the rocks at the far end.....
Sometimes paying a bit more at first reaps great rewards in future enjoyment. I am ever so glad we went this route! Picture trees, grass and flowers built around this wall! Beautiful!
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Case lot sales....

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I love fall cooking AND the case lot sales. I love to know that I won't need to go to the store every week, I can just cook from my storage. This is the best time to stock up on those basic cooking supplies. The recipes that we enjoy are the ones with the supplies I stock up on. PYP is a fabulous resource to pick from each of the case lot sales coming up. Prepared LDS Family has a wonderful spreadsheet of cost comparisons. I just pulled it up and WOW! I'm impressed. I didn't get the flour at Macey's- they were out- but I'm glad I didn't, I will wait for the baked goods in Novemeber like she suggested. I just had to share. She has spent over 100 hours putting this together and is being so very generous to share her efforts.

Robin LOVES scones. She posted a yummy looking recipe for scones- using home storage of course. I plan to make some as a nice surprise for the love of my life to come home too.....
1 Tbsp yeast
1 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Combine yeast and water. Let sit. Add remaining ingredients. Deep fry until golden brown. 
I plan to double this recipe. Scones disappear quicly around here!
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You know you live with boys when.....

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dirt, water, and rocks= the BEST fun ever!....
landscaping, grass- WHO NEEDS IT!....
bath time= torture time....
after bathtime you have to shovel the dirt to find the tub again....
the screaming only gets worse with cleaning ears and nails....
leftovers are found only in the dictionary....
the fridge is empty 2 days after you go to the store....
you hear "I'm Hungry" so much you wonder if you have another child named "Hungry"....
you wear shoes in the house to prevent lego imprints into your foot....
white socks become gray after the second wearing....
....and the biggest reason you know you live in a house of boys is when....
the toilet is spotted yellow moments after cleaning it....
What did I leave out ladies?????
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Pillow Talk

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I love evenings when I can just lay down and talk. I occassionally do it with each of my boys as I am tucking them into bed. You'd be amazed at the thoughts that come out when you lie in the quiet and talk, uninterupted, just the 2 of you. My favorite "boy" to talk with is Robin. Last night he had a hard day. He was discouraged on so many different fronts. I felt my hands were tied, I just didn't know what to do to help him. It was a moment of missing family and the frequent phone calls to say "hi" he used to get before our move; a moment of missing the shopping available nearby our I.F. home- he went to the store and couldn't get the quick snack he wanted; a moment of having not gotten out enough- he goes to work and comes home to work; a moment of just having a bad day. Well, we got all the kiddos tucked in, then laid down and talked ourselves. He was oh, so tired but his mind was too wound up. I rubbed his back as we talked about everything and anything. I LOVED IT! I wish we didn't have to have a 'bad' day to do this but......eventually he did fall into a restless sleep, but sleep none the less. Tonight he will be taking the big boys to a Real Soccer game. I think they will have a great time! Mom gets to stay home with the little boys.
Ever had one of those days? May I suggest a little Pillow Therapy?! Because, lets face it, regardless of age we all love to cuddle, have someone rub our backs while we unload our troubles! It's a great way to gain strength from and to those we love most!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Student Council posters: project 33 of 52

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My friend Kaylyn's daughter decided to run for student council for 6th grade and needed some posters. I have oodles of supplies for school and paper crafting. Kaylyn and I searched the internet and came up with a few ideas. She couldn't pass out candy and needed her name, picture, teacher, grade, and characteristics on the posters. We spent yesterday and part of today working on 4 posters. I used my cricuit to cut the letters out. I actually use it for school projects more than for scrapbooking. It is times like this that I am thankful for a husband who lets me indulge in my craftiness. The supplies add up but come in SOOO very handy! I was thrilled with what we came up with. What do you think?
I used my photoshop program to edit her picture and place it in front of a flag. I still need to practice with the lasso tool in photoshop but for this poster I made do with what I knew how to do.
You can't see them but each star on the flag has a jewel on it. Just a little bling. Love it! Some of the words still needed gluing- we were running out of time.....

This was the easiest one and I love how it turned out. Simple- Make a note. Some of the tags describe Katelyn's characteristics.
I love the glitter foam on this one!
Her name will go on under the "CHEWS" as well as her teachers name.
I also thought to do the CTR sheild to "choose Kately" but we were worried people would be offended by the LDS symbolism. Yeah, people are sensitive to that around here. Go figure.
Another idea was to make an accronym out of the letters of her name. Have her name go down with other words going across; like Kind for 'K' etc.
They were fun to make. Lucky for us Josh decided to do orchestra instead of student council. I'm not sure we could have come up with 4 different ideas.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Halloween projects

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I was suppose to work but got put on call so instead of working I am spending the evening watching AFV and blog surfing for great harvest crafts.
Lots of great ideas at Crafting for my sanity. Plus I have all the supplies already!
EEK! at Paint it sew spootacular
I've seen lots of these going around. Bonus again- all the supplies are on hand already. Side benefits of building a bedroom!
Chapman place

I think my Activity Days girls would love to make these....Adding it to the calendar for this week...
Brown Paper Packages

These are not harvest projects but I enjoyed the tips and thought you might too.....
My Repurposed Life:Blog tips

House of Hepworths. My mom actually made one of these for me several years ago but a pouting dog shredded it. I think it is time to make another. Dryer vent pumpkin.
Oh boy. It looks like I have some work to do. Anyone want to join me???
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Fitness update

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I really thought I would continue at a standstill this week. I have had a hard time balancing 4 boys, house work, yard plans, and finishing the basement with all of life's plans. The first thing to go is usually my workout plans. Needless to say I have not excersiced this week. I didn't even count my points too well. Despite all that I am happy to say that I am down a couple more pounds. Horray!
With fall in the air and winter around the corner I may be digging out my eliptical soon. Of course I hear the weather is much more mild here in Utah. I think I need to get in some ab workouts too so I may be hunting for my exercise ball. All this just in time for the yummy fall baking season. I LOVE baking in the fall. Homemade soups, chilis, and cobblers.... YUM! Gonna have to look for lighter recipes!
How are all your fitness goals coming?
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My day off....

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How is it that my "days off" are filled with laundry, scrubbing, cleaning, more laundry and errands? I sat down long enough to eat a quick bite at each meal then was off again. I did manage to make a dent in the house work though. Mondays are always rough days with the house a shambles. Having a long weekend was great but just made it even worse to get things back in order. Oh, my legs ache and I didn't even get my walk in. Having spent a couple of hours in the dr's office for this.....
Tyler smashed his finger last week but it has been getting worse every day so I thought I'd better have it checked out. They didn't do anything but it feels better to have had someone else look at it. He will loose his fingernail. I can tell it is already dead. As sore as it looks it doesn't bother him too much. That is the main reason the doc didn't drain it. I was worried about the pressure building up but as long as he doesn't have a lot of pain we will just watch it and let the body do it's thing. 
Oh- and how did he do this? With a stick! "I was hitting the dirt with a stick, mom". I still haven't figured out WHAT hit is finger but I do know "it wasn't the stick"! Yeah, he came in crying over this one. Ice and a mommy kiss can work wonders!

We also have a new addition to our family.....
 Scooter is a pure white miniature schnauzer. We got him a couple of weeks ago and he is doing great. He is a really good dog. I like that he won't get very big and the boys just love having a pet again. We have had a few talks on caring for him and being gentle. He seldom barks, well, except when someone goes downstairs. For some reason he has a fit if you walk downstairs. He is mostly house trained and sleeps great in his kennel. He is 10 weeks old and loves to bite as puppies do. We gave him a hedgehog stuffed animal and he loves it. He needs a trim and a health check up. I will be adding that to my list tomorrow. He has become quite attached to me so now I have another boy to look after me. I count myself a lucky lady!
Once again another boy. I will be forever out numbered! Although having just boys definitely has its advantages! (Think school mornings and hair do's!). I am rather attached to them all myself! ;-)
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Activity Days: project 32 of 52

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A simple project....
After 5 years in scouts I am now in Activity Days. I am excited to get started. After searching for some ideas I put together a calendar.....
I made a card with our (leaders) phone numbers and a bookmark....
I put 8 on one sheet then laminated them and trimmed them.  
I took empty cans, covered them with jute, embelished a little with ribbon and a monogram for each girl.
Then filled them up. I wrote a letter welcoming the girls. Added candy for the rough days that need sweetening, a pencil and highlighter for marking scriptures. The last thing I added was a composition notebook with instructions to have it decorated to their liking for our next meeting.
I have delivered a couple and will finish delivering them in the morning. It has provided a nice opportunity to meet other families in our new ward. I hope that the girls enjoy it and have fun with the activities I have planned. I found a lot of great ideas on LDS Activity Day Ideas. Check out her site....
I think you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fitness update

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It's a bit late but this keeps me accountable....
I am at a bit of a plateau on my weight loss but I think my clothes are a bit smaller. With that in mind this next week I am going to try to check my measurements. I haven't been as consistant on my walking so I may add in some current walking at the pool too. With it getting darker earlier it is getting more difficult to walk outside. Of course with school in and cooler temps we are going to try to get out during the day to walk. The biggest positive is I just feel better. :)
We have lots of fresh vegis to enjoy this week and I plan on doing some homemade salsa on Tuesday. After all, that is the key right? Keeping healthy foods handy...... I also need to plan our menu but tomorrow we will be out having fun as family and exploring the sites around our new home.
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Computer Magic: project 31 of 52

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I have been trying to make my computer desk have a homey feel since it sits out in the open kitchen area, yet remain functional. I have been doing well with the functional part but the homey was missing.
 I knew what I needed so when I stopped at Walmart I got it....a small lamp to add warm light. I also needed a way to better hide the cords. We drilled a hole in the top and side of the desk to thread the cords through so that they are pluged in and hidden undernieth the desk. I used 3M Command sticky strips to attach a power strip to the underside of the desk. Then locking ties to keep extra cord length under control. Actually this was Rob's job since he is the computer guy.
My sign below my clock was given to me for Christmas last year by my mom-in-law. It says "Faith in God includes Faith in His timing" Neil A. Maxwell. It has become my motto, especially with all the changes we have had lately. Hanging below my clock- I just love it.
 Now I just need a counter height chair.
Presto....Chango ..... from drab to fab
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Halloween ideas.....Activity Days ideas.....

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Halloween is Robin's favorite holiday. I don't do scary! Truely, I have nightmares but I enjoy decorating for the holidays. Last year I added to our harvest decor. Cute Halloween I can are some fresh ideas I came across blog surfing last night. This is why I love blogs. Simple, cute ideas that anyone can do on a budget!
Ohhh, I love these ghosts. bedifferentactnormal.blogspot
 Or how about this in our new front yard???
Yep, I'm gonna have to get going on this sign. I love it! The boys would get a great kick out of it. Picture surrounded by pumpkins in my front flower bed. My flowers are needing to be cut back anyway!

I am also on the hunt for Activity Days ideas. I found several last night but if you have any to share or resources please let me know. I will be diving into my scouting resources but would like to focus on helping the girls earn their Faith in God (is that what the girls one is called- you know me- I'm all about boys...).
Here are the sites I have checked out so far:

Haven't checked this one out but gonna- looks good....
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