Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to play "The Garbage Bag Game"

First off, get a big black garbage bag and fill it with crumpled newspaper. Then, get a bunch of dollar store "prizes" and wrap them up individually, using lots and lots of tape to make things more fun.

Put the garbage bag in the middle of the floor, and have all your party-animals sit in a circle around it. Get two sets of dice, two bandannas, and two pairs of gloves. The goal is to roll doubles, tie the blindfold on, put on the gloves, and reach into the bag to try to find and unwrap a present before another person rolls doubles and steals your gloves and blindfold. If you succeed, you get to keep the gift. Otherwise, it goes back in the bag and the next person has a go at it.
Sometimes a friend takes pity on you and helps you with your blindfold....

...only to have it taken away with the very next roll of the dice!

And then there are those that cheat, regarding the blindfold...

...and cheat some more!

It is so fun to watch, seeing people trip over each other to get the blindfold and gloves and have their turn at it, and when they finally get a gift unwrapped....

...some of them are just too funny. Marcia did a great job of modeling her "bling" teeth.

And Colleen got a pregnancy test...which was she must have forgotten to take with her, and Heath found on the floor this morning, to which he said "Uh..honey? What did you gals DO last night?"

Here's a shot of all of us holding our prizes. After this picture was taken, four more people showed up, and we moved on to music videos and other games...which I will make another post about, since this one is already too long. All in all, it was a really fun night. Thanks everyone, for coming!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Just Girls

Tonight I'll be hosting my first Girl's Night in Colorado. It'll be my first Girl's Night in a year, since my last one in California, before we moved. This one will be at my house. I gotta break them in, after all. I have about 20 girls that are coming to PARTY! The fun begins at 8pm and I've threatened everyone that the first person to leave will get their house T.P.d.

I hope everyone is ready for a good time, because I sure am!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Walking Photo-Op

When the days are nice, we walk Kolby to school, instead of driving him there. It's about half a mile walk and Georgie LOVES it. Of course, I know a good photo-op when I see one, so I brought along my camera. Here are some of my favorites.

She loves to push the button for the cross-walk.

Why is it that when there is a perfectly good sidewalk, the kids walk in the ditch? All my kids do that.

Quite possibly my favorite picture of the day.

Love those squinty eyes when she smiles.

6th picture

Alright, so I was tagged by my college roommate MEGAN to post the 6th picture in the 6th folder. So this was the picture, taken in January. Keaton spent an hour pushing everyone down the little hill in our backyard. He never got tired. He never wanted to ride. He only wanted to push everyone.

Without folders within folders, hampering my 6th picture strategy, this was the 6th picture, standing alone in my picture file on my computer. No place to belong. It was actually the first layout I have scrapped in MONTHS. I've been so busy sewing and, well, sewing, that I haven't really scrapped in a while. Anyway, here is the 6th stand-alone picture.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Generational Biscuits

I have the pleasure of being part of a family of biscuit-makers. I grew up on a ranch in the mountains of Arizona, and had the distinct pleasure of knowing that my next biscuit-fix was always just a day or two away. Our Ranch Cookouts seemed to happen as frequently as we went to church, and I looked forward to every one.

Not only did my family live on the Ranch, but also numerous cousins, Aunts, and Uncles...and all of us were under the loving wings of my great Grandparents. They were the supreme Biscuit-Makers, and I was like a frisky puppy dog, bouncing around their feet until they gave me a hot and soft biscuit, cooked to perfection in a dutch oven, over the coals of a well kept fire.
(Here are my Great Grandparents (in the aprons) as well as my parents {my mom is pregnant, and my dad is holding my sister Rebekah, I think} and next to my mom is my Aunt Laurie and Uncle Gib. In the red shirt is my mom's sister Robin, and behind her is my Uncle Jerry. This picture was taken around 1984, I think. If I'm wrong, mom..then correct me.)

I always watched with fascination as my great Grandparents, with their weathered aprons tied around their waists, took out their enormous shiny silver bowl (which still had remnants of flour in it from the previous biscuit-making session) and they would dump in an unspecified amount of Self-Rising Flour. After that, they made a little well in the flour, and into that, they would delicately add some milk and some oil. With years of experience on their side, they began to gently mix the flour into the well of milk and oil, and like magic, a soft dough that was barely mixed together, would be transferred onto a flat wooden cutting board sprinkled with flour, and they would use their well loved biscuit cutters to make soft fluffy circles of dough.

With the inside of the dutch oven already coated in a generous amount of oil, they would dip the biscuit into the oil, and then turn it over, so both sides were coated in the oil, which accounted for the crispy tops that we all loved so much, and thus the process would continue until a few dozen biscuits lay nestled against each other, each identical to the other.

After an appropriate amount of cooking time, in which the dutch oven was placed over the coals, and the lid adorned with some additional hot coals, my great Grandfather would use his poker to lift the dutch oven away from the coals and over to a wooden bench supported with sturdy tree stumps, and then my great Grandmother, always wearing her hairnet, would scoop out a biscuit to each of her little grandchildren, as we tripped over each other in anxiousness to get to the front of the line.

(Grandpa Aut and Grandma Jayne in Hawaii in 1973. Grandpa exchanged his cowboy hat for one with a bit of Island flavor, and Grandma Jayne still wore her hair net.)

Ahhh. Soft. Warm. Fluffy Biscuits. They were the best. Fortunately, my great Grandparents passed on this skill to their children, who in turn, passed it on to theirs. My Mom makes biscuits just as yummy and amazing as my great Grandparents, and she has passed that skill on to me.

Uh...well, not necessarily. You see, there is a delicate balance of ingredients for these biscuits, and as much as I have tried to get some sort of ratio from my mom, I don't get a firm answer. This is one of those things that you learn from watching, and doing. I hope I am able to perfect it in my lifetime, so that I can pass it on to my kids. If you are interested in the recipe, well, then I am sorry to disappoint you. I don't even have a recipe, but there are a few things I DO know. First off, use Self-Rising Flour. Very important. Next, make a well in your flour, and add in some milk, and even less oil. There ya go. That's about as much as I know. The rest, comes through trial and error.

But there is one thing I do have, that not everyone in my extended family can boast about. I have one of the precious biscuit cutters that belonged to my Great Grandparents. Yes, the very biscuit cutter those experienced and wrinkled hands use to grasp on a daily basis. I also have a pair of his suspenders, that he must have slept in and showered in, because they were as permanent on him as his cowboy hat was, and I treasure both of these heirlooms.

(This was my family in 1983. We were awaiting another cookout at the Rec-center on the Ranch. I'm the one in front, wearing the purple jacket.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What am I doing Awake??

Don't you hate those nights when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep? After laying awake for a bit (is it laying or lying??) Georgie woke up crying, so that gave me something to do for a while. She's such a cuddler at night.

I've checked email...looked at blogs...updated Facebook....stared at the wall...

I'm running out of things to do that are quiet.

The thing is...I'm so tired. I just can't go back to sleep. I'd write up a childhood memory for you, that I mentioned a few posts down, but I'm not sure my brain is as awake as my body is. By the way, which story intrigued you? Which one should I tell first?

I'm gonna go back to bed now.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Pain in the Wasp Bag

Don't get me wrong. I love the purse. But it was a pain in the butt to make. Well..scratch that. It was a pain in the butt for me to follow the directions. First off, I am a visual learner. I see a picture of a step, and I can figure it out better than the directions can explain it. So when I printed off the pattern and instructions for this purse, I was a bit stumped by the lack of pictures. Nevertheless, I tried to follow along as best I could to the step by step instructions, but there came a point that I simply followed my own rules of assembly. Had I not made a few purses before this one, I would have been completely lost.  I think the reason I ventured on my own, was that I didn't know how to make the hidden inside pocket thing.  So I just  made my own pocket, and then sewed the inside to the outside in the way I knew how.  It came out  pretty good for a beginner sewer!

 I'm sure a better seamstress could have easily figured out the instructions. Remember, I'm still a beginner at the sewing jargon. Just show me pictures!! Maybe that is why I caught on to sign language so fast. It's definitely a visual language!

All that grumpiness aside, I am completely in love with the purse!! It's very cute, and it holds a lot, and I totally dig the magnetic clasp (my first one!) If you want to print off the pattern and make one yourself, then, seriously, don't ask me how to follow the instructions. However, if you want to explore the scenic route of purse making, then by all means, I'm here for you. (You don't know how many times I used my seam ripper on this purse, before I finally just went off on my own and assembled it how it seemed right to me. I must have tore out the same two seams six times. Believe me. I was so frustrated.)

By the way, it was called the Wasp Bag based on the fabric she chose when she designed the purse. In no way, does it involve bees or wasps or hornets, or any other flying stinging insect. With that, I chose a more loving insect on my fabric. The Butterfly. Well, that, and I had enough of this particular fabric in my stash to cover the required amount needed for the purse.

So did anyone else make this bag last week? Tell me what you think.

Remind me...

Remind me to tell you about the time in college when I had a Mailman who stalked me.

Remind me to tell you about the time my sister decided to saddle the horse, and what happened to us galloping full speed around a corner.

Remind me to tell you about the time I was giggly with boy craziness and got whiplash from a clothes line.

Remind me to tell you about the time my sister wanted me to hold a big watermelon while she cut into it with a butcher knife.

Remind me to tell you about the time I stuffed 21 people into my little hatchback Ford.

Remind me to tell you when my Dad caught me riding my bike on the highway when I was 11.

Remind me to tell you these stories and more. But for now, I'm gonna go finish my WASP bag. It's almost done! It's done and it's beautiful and it kicked my butt. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post for pictures.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bits of Cooking

Doing some bits of cooking today...along with some bits of cleaning....along with some bits of babysitting...along with some bits of sewing...along with some bits of socializing. Got a busy day full of bits of stuff.

But before all that, I have a new recipe for you to try. I made it last night, and the husband couldn't stop raving about how much he loved it! I believe the words he used were: "This tops the chart!" "It's seasoned with perfection" "Oooh...this is sooooo goood!" "Man! This dinner is the best!"

So here it is.

Potato Alfredo
Peel and Cut about 8 potatoes into long strips (like steak fries)
Combine 1 chopped onion, 2 Tbsp melted butter, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, and 2 cups of cream in a bowl.
Add potatoes to cream mixture and thoroughly coat.
Place in a greased baking pan and bake uncovered for 1 hour, at 400 degrees, or until potatoes are cooked through. I loved that the top got brown and bubbly. Yummy.

And that's it folks. It tastes great. I simply served it with some baked chicken and corn and you'd have thought I made the world's fanciest food. Everyone loved it. (As a side note, I cooked the chicken the same time I cooked the potatoes. I just bumped up the heat to 425 degrees.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Menu

New Recipes I am Trying:
Hearty Sausage and Potato Soup
*Manicotti with Sausage
Chicken with Walnut Sauce (over noodles or rice)
Almond Chicken (with Chinese Fried Rice)
Potato Alfredo (with pork tenderloin)
Chicken Tetrazzini (new recipe from Giada @ Food Network)

Returning Favorites:
Lemon Chicken
Beef Stirfry
*Floating Tacos
Ham and Potato Casserole
*BBQ Chicken
*Swedish Meatballs

On the Side:
Mint Chocolate Cake
Applesauce Muffins
Lemon Pound Cake
Buttermilk Biscuits

The dinners I put an (*) by are the ones I will be completely making today. The others, I can do a bit of prep work for to make the job easier later on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Going to do some major food shopping today. I haven't done any freezer meals since right before we moved from South Carolina. We have this great upright freezer in our garage, and it's completely empty except for two sticks of butter. So I want to fill it up.

One thing about freezer meals, is that it doesn't have to be a complete meal. It can simply be cooking up a pound of meat, seasoning it appropriately for the meal you want, and then freezing it. For example...taco meat. If it's already done and seasoned, it makes cooking your meal that much faster! It's so much easier to prepare these meals right after you shop, because the meat is thawed and ready to use. Just make sure you stock up on freezer-safe ziploc bags and heavy duty aluminum foil.

You can also make rolls, and freeze them before you would bake them. You can make desserts, and freeze them too!

So anyway...that's what I'm doing today. Shop and prep. Tomorrow: Freezer meals.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Superman Has Nothin' On Me!

My second year at Ricks College was a blast!! I had lots of friends. I was social. I also broke a lot of rules....but because my mom reads this blog too, I'll skip over that part.

My roommates and I were extremely close with one group of guys, who were also roommates. They lived in a separate complex just up the hill from us, and we were constantly together. They kept some of their food at our apartment. In turn, we draped old afghans across their couches to make their living space more welcoming. In short, we were very familiar with each other's living quarters.

Their apartment was on the ground floor, and so it was easy to get inside. It was especially easy for them to get in through their bedroom window, instead of going around to the other side of the building and using the front door. Since we were often with them, we grew accustomed to using the window as our entrance as well. {As a side note, and to save myself from chastisement, we never frequented their bedrooms after dusk...and although I can't say that there weren't moments of attraction, no hanky panky ever went on. Ok, mom? ok.}

That being said, one afternoon, two of my roommates and I needed to get something from the boys' apartment, so we took a gander up the hill to their place. We knew each of their schedules, and quickly deduced that nobody would be home. Not a problem when you have a certain bedroom window that was always conveniently left unlatched. So because this wasn't the first time we gained entrance through the bedroom, we knew the position of the dressers, beds, and other furniture. Under this specific window, we knew, there was a bed placed exactly beneath the window, which helped serve as a step, of sorts, for us to gracefully land.

As my roommates were sliding the window open, and drawing back the curtains, I had the brilliant idea to do a flying leap through the window, and land softly on the bed. I told the girls my plan, Even though the window was on ground level, it's base still came up to my rib cage. I needed a good clean jump to clear the window, so I eagerly ran 20 feet away, so I could build up enough speed to jump through. My roommates started laughing. "Go for it!", they shouted. Being such nice roommates, they held back the curtains for me, and stood to the side to give me room to fly through.

I lined up carefully, kicking off my slip on shoes so they wouldn't hamper my speed. I adjusted the straps on my overalls, tucked the ends of my shirt back into the sides, and took off towards the window with my long braid swinging back and forth.

I got close. I could hear my roommates giggling. This was gonna be great! I could imagine my perfect leap...arms stretched out in front of me, toes pointed behind me, enjoying the sensation of perfecting a superman leap through the air and landing softly on the bed under the window. But that is NOT exactly how it happened!

Oh, I made it through the window alright. Only then, a tad too late, did I understand why my dear roommates were giggling so. They knew something I didn't know. The bed, which was supposed to be under the window, was instead five feet away, resting against another wall. Underneath the window was nothing but a set of mismatched shoes and a pair of dirty socks. My hands, which were still stretched out in front of me, managed to make it to the edge of the bed. However, my feet stuck unceremoniously in the ledge of the window, not quite making it through. My body, with nothing to catch me, dipped low to the ground, but didn't quite touch, as my arms were still grasping hold of the top of the bed, and my feet stuck in the window.

POP POP went my overall buttons, the straps not able to maintain their fastening power, what with the awkward state my body was in. I also had a giant wedge, which my roommates had full view of from their advantage point outside, looking in through the window. Finally, I was able to wiggle out of my predicament, completely collapsing, and joining my roomies in a fit of giggles. For all the time that we spent with this apartment of guys, they had neglected to tell us that the night before, they had moved all their furniture around in their room. Including the aforementioned bed.

Believe me...that was the last time I went jumping through a window, without first checking to make sure I had a soft spot to land. However, anytime during the remainder of the year that things got a bit boring at our house, I could always count on someone to say "Hey, we can always jump through a window!" Ha ha haa.

Not This Place Again!

Yup. We went to Garden of the Gods Again. What else do we do on a weekend?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Makin' More Stuff...

This Batboy spends his time hanging from tree branches in the snow. He enjoys flying around in his super-duper (removable) cape and keeps the ladies guessing his identity by wearing his black mask (also removable). Underneath his masked persona, he is just a simple WEE WONDERFUL little boy with a few minor tweaks in his pattern to extend his hands and feet in order for his bat boots and gloves to look appropriate. He was made for a friend's 5th birthday, and even with all his many sewing flaws, I hear he was welcomed with open arms.

This week, I want to make this cute WASP BAG purse. Anyone want to join me?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Goes Round

Kolby was very proud of his valentine heart that he colored. He very sweetly presented it to me. Keaton worked so hard on his valentines. He was very specific about each name he wrote. He made sure the girls got girl valentines, and the boys got boy valentines. He saved the biggest valentine for his teacher, and even asked me if I could make a special necklace for his teacher. (It was too late for me to do that, but I thought it very sweet that he thought of her that way.)

Kamy had a concert at school this week. She said her part PERFECTLY!! Now all those songs that we heard over and over again at home were put in the proper context. It was a great concert.

Georgie had a good time taking pictures of her at the concert.

Yesterday they all had great parties at school, and the fun doesn't stop today! This morning, they will have a big Valentine's party at the church, and after, the kids get to go to a friend's house for heart shaped pizzas, sugar cookies, games, and playing with about 20 of their friends so that Heath and I (along with the other parents) can have a few hours without the kids on this special day. Thanks Colleen!!
Hope you all have a fabulous day filled with love. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Good Girl, Momma!"

This week, Georgie has been a very attentive mommy to her babies. She likes to carry them around in her little backpack, or wrapped up in her arms with a soft blankie. She calls them her "babies" or "my gurrls" Yesterday, she had two babies strapped to her backpack. She's very attentive with them.
Georgie also likes to crawl up on the counter to help me cook. Most of the time, though, she helps make a big mess! I was making some bread earlier this week, and she sat up on the little ledge in front of the sink (she has great "caveman-squatting balance") and just sat there, watching the bread rise. Oh, and she never wants to wear clothes. She kicks them off as soon as we come in the house from running errands, or taking Kolby to school.

When she does something nice, or good, or helpful, I always say "Good girl!". Lately, I've noticed her saying that to me now. On Wednesday, I was cracking an egg into my meatloaf mixture, and she said "Good girl, momma!". When I got done sweeping the floor, she said "Good girl, momma!" and when I put her hair in cute little piggies, she says "Good girl, momma!" I feel like I have my very own personal cheerleader. It's nice to get recognized for the little things....even if it is cracking an egg!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fresh Neck

I love writing down what I hear the kids say. Here are some tidbits from their life.

When Heath wrestles with Kolby, Heath likes to act like he's a wild animal scavenging for food. So he tells Kolby he wants some fresh meat, and he goes for his neck. I was in the other room and I heard Kolby say "Go get Kamyren! She has lots of fresh neck for you!"

Keaton wanted Kolby to do something for Heath, and after Keaton told Kolby what to do, Kolby replied "I'm not Daddy's Butler!"

I made Kolby stand in the corner the other day (it happens frequently...) and Kolby's frustratred reply was: "Well how long do I have to stand here this time? 13 years?"

I told all the kids to put their shoes on, when we were going out somewhere, and Keaton said " I do! I've been wearing my shoes since I put them on!"

Keaton spends a lot of time in the bathroom doing his hair. He likes to try to comb it over like Clark Kent. After he was done, he came to me and said "Mom, after I do my hair, I like to wet my finger and smooth it over my eyebrows to make them look handsome.

Kamy has been really interested in brushing her teeth lately. So now she comes to me and says "Mom. I really like when my teeth are white." Me too.

Since Christmas, Kamy's been writing in her journal that she got. She loves to read me what she wrote too. Last week, she wrote down that she had a great family. Then she wrote down all the names of her siblings, just in case she forgot later.

(Thank you for the sweet comments from yesterday! It really meant a lot to me. There are a lot of new faces out there. I look forward to getting to know you.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Will You Follow Me?

I just have to share something that I've struggled with my whole life. I love to be outgoing...but I'm terrified every time I do it! Seriously. I'm always worried that people are going to judge me and be mean to me, and talk behind my back..much like high school. There was a question on one of the games that we played last weekend, during our High School Reunion party, that asked whether you hated high school. I really did. It frustrated me how people acted. I think it's because of that, that I try to be friends with EVERYBODY. I don't like cliques at all.

So every time we have a social situation, I get a bit nervous. I don't think people notice, though. I've come a long way since high school, and I'll admit, most of those social situations are of my own making. I try to get myself out there, hosting things and planning parties...because I don't want to be like (or feel like how) I was in high school.

I have a few things planned that I'm excited about. First, I'm hosting a Girl's Night at my house at the end of the month. It's been a year since I've done a Girl's Night; my last one being my farewell party/80's night, when we moved from California. We have a lot of really fun ladies here, so I know it will be great! Second, I'm having 7 of my sisters, and a life long friend that I call my sister, come here for a Craft Weekend in April. I'm so excited about that. Also, in July, I'm planning a reunion with all my dear friends from California, which I'm hoping will happen with a bang!

Lastly, I'm so grateful to all of you who read my blog. Some of you I've never met. Some are old friends. Some are new friends. I am so happy that you come to my little blog and share in my life. It means the WORLD to me! I think sometimes, my scale of happiness is dependent on the number of comments I get! Silly...but it's true. I love to see who visits and what you say. So if you haven't added yourself to my "Followers" list, could you take a second to do that? It would make my year.

Thanks for coming!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

These Hips Were Made For Dancing!

Saturday Night we had a great Church Activity for the adults in our Ward. It was themed "High School Reunion" and we even had people come dressed up in their Letterman jackets, pegged pants, and teased hair. We played a few social games, including Family Feud, where some of us battled against each other based on our answers to a fun High School questionnaire we filled out a month or so ago. This was Heath's team, nicknamed "The Gadiantons".
We also had a dance, where we danced to some of our favorite songs of yesteryear. I'm not sure what song we were dancing to when this picture was taken, but it looks like I'm doing the Paso Doble. Dancing with the I come!

We enjoyed dancing to all the songs, including some swing dancing...

... as well as music from ABBA! Here are two of my Dancin' Queens with me. I was pointing to Heath, who wouldn't admit it, but wanted to join in as a Dancin' Queen too!

And finally, we got to dance to "Thriller!" Heath and I made up a quick routine to it before the party, and we led the group in style. It was a lot of fun. Notice in the picture, where Heath is looking. He just couldn't keep his eyes off my bum!

Monday, February 9, 2009

It Started Off As A Good Idea...

I found this chocolate brown suede material on a clearance rack a few months ago, and have been holding onto it so I could make the most adorable purse out of it. So on Saturday I got notion that I was more clever with the sewing machine than I really was, and set about making this purse. I took a few ideas from some of the other purses that I liked...tweaked some measurements.....added a few things....and came up with my own pattern for a purse.
Things I love about this purse: (1) The fabrics I chose. (2) The strips across the front and the adorable flower I made. (3) The fabrics I chose. (4) The three pockets lined on the inside, so my keys and cell phone and gum can all be in different pockets.
Things I hate about this purse: (1) As cute as it looks, it doesn't keep it's form. It bows down in the middle when filled with wallet, keys, etc. [yes..I used some fusible interfacing and it still is floppy.] (2) The edges of the purse, where it dips down to form a "U", stick out and drive me nuts. (3) I'll need to figure in a magnetic clasp or something to keep it closed.
So. It's back to the drawing board. Now...what to do about this lonely purse, whose only good quality is that it's pretty to look at hanging from a hook on my wall???