Wednesday, September 30, 2009

guest blogging

Check out I will be guest blogging every Wednesday. She has some way cool stuff over there. She truly has a heart for GOD! She is a stay at home mom who writes a really cute blog, and she is a great friend.
It is a real honor for me to help her out so head on over and check her out!

mama's towels make great gifts

Hey ya'll, I wanted to post some pics of my mama's kitchen towels. They have a retro feel to to them and they make great hostess gifts as well. She has gifted some to me over the last few months and I truly love them. She can customize them to any decor or color. She recently made some for a girl who is going on a missions trip and needs to raise funds (she sold them at a boutique). My favorites were the halloween spider towel she made. It was green fabric with little black spiders and she used a solid black towel. She is making some harvest towels that I am really keeping my eye on.
Any way take a look and if you are interested please leave me a comment and I will get you more info! The price would be $12.50 and includes shipping.
She saw this dragonfly fabric and just could not resist!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Taste of Home Cooking School

Last night, I participated in the Taste Of Home Cooking School in Woods Cross, Utah. The day was long but so much fun and it was a really great experience. I picked up my mom at 7:45 am and we drove the 20 minutes to Woods Cross, High School. When we got there we were introduced the the other women who were there helping for the day. Then we were given instructions and we set to work. I was given the manicotti recipe, and a very detailed instruction sheet. This was a behind the scenes look for me, how it is done on television and on stage. It was completely planned out from how many prep containers and what size, along with how many lids. To each item that needed to be prepped and how. It was a stretch for me because I know how I cook and even following a recipe is fine but I tend to improvise and want to do things my way. This was different because it had to be done in stages. Some of it was to be done now, and refrigerated while other parts would be done on stage. Everything was numbered and very organized.

The lady here is Becky. She was the other Taste of Home Field Editor, that would be helping prepare a dish on stage that night. She has been published in every annual cook book from TOH since 2000. She was a very nice lady and thought that it was very nice that TOH would diversify and not just choose mormon cooks to be in their cook books. I didn't have the heart to tell her that TOH was not a mormon publication!

After the food prep the instruction said we needed to assemble our trays which corresponded to the recipe we were doing for the evening show. This is my tray just about assembled, I still had a few items to be put on. This was after I had prepared my marinara sauce and let it cook for an hour.

After everything was all said and done we had to wash our dishes and clean up our areas. My mom set herself up as the dishwasher, for the most part. We had 3 bins to wash, rinse, and sanitize; back stage in the woods cross high school auditorium. That was a challenge. The water we were getting, was from and ancient sink so encrusted with all colors of paint you could barely get the water to turn on.

There were 6 women helping backstage that morning, we had 10 recipes to prep.

This is a behind the scenes look... all of the appliances were brought in by a local appliane store and donated for the night. The audience was told that night that if they were interested in the 2 stoves, the fridge or microwave you could go to the store the next day and they would give you a really great deal on the ones that were used for the show. After all the prep work was done I decided I wanted to take a few before and after shots. Here is the one shot of my mom stage right that I got. It just happened randomly, she was at the right place at the right time!!! We were done with the prep and were ready to go by noon. The shows Hostess Christy gave us all a gift certificate for a TOH 1 year magazine subscription. I thought that was way cool.

I was not feeling well and decided that we needed to go back home and rest for awhile instead of going to hang out at the nearest mall.

This is a pile of some of the door prizes. TOH gave away a ton of door prizes. Also the national sponsors gave away alot of door prizes and the local sponsors gave away phenomenal door prizes.

These are more door prizes. The blue package on the bottom was the Ziplock gift pack it was given away during my recipe. On to of that is the Gallo wines ift basket, it had an apron, hot pads, cookbooks, kitchen towels and other goodies. They gave away the frying pan, it is Royal Prestige brand. And the white box was a set of knives. In this photo the leather love seat to the left, was beautiful and it was one of the grand prizes donated by the local sponsors. The other grand prizes were $250 gift certificates from local florists. After shot of the stage right before the show. My mom and got back to the show about 4:30 that evening and they had alot of local vendors giving out things and prize drawings etc. The best part is that when we checked in at the ticket booth they gave you an orange paper (with tape) that said reserved so that we coud go get our seats and then roam the vendor booths! That was a nice touch. Winegars had boxes of little sandwhiches and and eclairs and brownies for everyone to sample. And at one of the vendor booths I found a cookbook. It has 30 weeks of weekly menus and all of the recipes to go with it. It got to come home with me! I was recipe #2 Manicotti, I was a bit nervous but I was thankful that I did not have to go last. I think being first for something like this is great. I was able to enjoy the rest of the show, without any anxiety. This is the new TOH cookbook! Our church ladies are featured on pg. 311. I got my first look today, I was a bit dissapointed in a few aspects but not too badly. Here is why, First of all I submitted the photo of all the women in our group and they reduced it to about 1"x 1" and only left half of the women in it. Secondly the photo is in black and white and it is hard to tell what is going on in the photo. Lastly our recipe is not even in the book! but you can get it online.Those are my 3 complaints. I have consoled myself with the knowledge that it is not about us. It doesn't matter if our pic is perfect or if our recipe wasn't included. What matters is our story, our ministry to others! We ar servants not celebrities! We all got goodie bags when we checked in and we got 2 magazines and tons of things and samples also everyone who attended the show got a free 1 yr. subscription to TOH as well.

The last pic I am sharing is my manicotti! Isn't the pan cool! The manicotti will be gone very soon, but every time I use this pan I will remember my experience at the Taste Of Home Cooking School.

Thanks for dropping by ~S

Monday, September 14, 2009

surprises and blessings

I have a story! That was my recent facebook status. And it was/ is true. I have a story.

I have to start with Thursday evening, that is when I decided I really NEEDED to go to the Scrapbook USA Expo. It started the next morning prompty at 9am. So I asked my hunny for some money, and being the sweet one that he is, brought me twice the amount I requested. This is an important detail....keep that in mind.
So I made arrangements for my mom to watch the kids until it was time for her to leave on her ladies retreat with her church. At which time the kids would occupy themselves for a bit while I was on my way home.

There I was at the scrapbook expo basking in the glow of all the new products out there. (By the way I got some killer deals!!!!) Anyway as I was saying I was shopping. My phone rang and it was my mother she told me that the retreat she was going on had an opening for one person due to a last minute cancellation. I told her that I would really love to go but unfortunately we were really watching the budget this week (now that I was shopping the expo). I would not be able to make it. She then relayed to me that there would be no cost, since the person going was sponsored and that money would be forfeited anyway, also they were looking for a specific count of 200 women and now they would be short. I quickly ended that conversation and called Justin who was so very sweet in telling me that I really needed to go. This retreat was at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah. Years ago Justin had worked at the Zermatt when it was being built, he did work in some of the rooms that were nearly finished. When I told him where the retreat was at, he told me that he wanted me to go, and that he did not want me to miss out on that kind of experience. However he was working a 10 hr. day so it would be 6 pm before he would be home from work.

I called my mom and told her I was in.
(During which time I inadvertantly shoplifted 30lbs of paper, Don't worry I took it all back and paid for it. And I appologized profusely.) I finished my shopping and decided it was time to head home. On my way out, Justin called me to tell me that he was actually off work. It was only like 1pm, he said they were done for the day, and that he would meet me at home. Wow, it was kind of wiggin' me out how everything was falling into place so quickly and easily.

I got home and packed my bag and kissed everyone goodbye. And here is the amazing part...I drove up Parley's all by myself without any fear!!!! I had never done that before and didn't really have any desire to do it. I got up there and I was perfectly at peace the entire time! I made my way to Midway and the Zermatt and from there I was confused as of where to check in or meet my party and they were not answering their phones. Low and behold as I was driving through one of the parking lots, I heard my mom's friend laughing her very distinct laugh, I looked to my right and there they were coming out of the building. They directed me to the sign in and event registration and waited for me.

Here is where I really thought that it was going to get sketchy for me. I had to share a room with 3 complete strangers! People I had never laid eyes on before AND I was going to have to share a bed with one of them!!!! As I went into the room I thought that I was going to be really freaked out but I had an overwhelming peace. I can't even explain it here but there was not a trace of anxiety. I walked in to find my room empty, my room mates had not arrived yet. so I went to the far end of the room and commandeered the end spot on the farthest bed. I then went exploring for a bit. Found my mother again, called maintenance to come fix the AC in the room that was not working, opened the complimentary shampoo to smell it, and relaxed for a bit.

Ok, remember that money I talked about earlier? I decided that since dinner was not provided I needed to go and get a bite to eat before the evening service. So my mom and I hopped in the car and took a brief tour of Midway, while looking for some dinner. I had just enough spending money left from the scrapbook expo to puchase dinner! We grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the resort.
This time before entering the room, I was accutely aware that those strangers would most likely be there by now. I won't say I had anxiety this time but I did take a deep breath before entering. I was determined to be chipper and upbeat and friendly. The women were very friendly and I introduced myself to them thankfully my mom came in and helped out with the intros also. We only had a short time to change and walk over to another building to get to the conference center, so we were all in a zone. Not much time for getting to know each other.

Any way we all trotted down to the first meeting and service, it was really a great time. After that I was determined to get into a hot tub before it closed for the evening. Let's just say there was alot of walking involved, before we finally got to the hot tub. It was a really cool hot tub as well with a waterfall that felt like a shiatsu massage when you sat under it! We stayed 20 minutes and then headed back up to the room to change and then go to the after party the pastor's wife was hosting in her room. She made and served what was referred to as "christian crack" appropriately named I assure you. They were like those cheese puffs you buy in the bag in the potato chip aisle, however they were coated in carmel instead and they were sooooo good!

At this point I had not seen my roommates since our first meeting and they were not at the party either. Drats, it looked like I was going to have to sleep with a stranger. I was hoping to have had enough time to get to know her a little bit. We bid all of the party goers goodnight and headed back to our rooms. My roommates were there all snug in their PJ's and talking. So I sat on my end of the bed and joined in. Little did I know at this point that I would find such a dear friend. Anika was my bed fellow and we really hit it off. We talked about everything and found out that we loved all of the same things. It was like finding a long lost sister. We discovered that it was getting very late and we needed to get some sleep before the morning workshops, so we turned out the lights to get some rest.

By the end of the next afternoon we had checked out and my mom and I were going into the pastry shop so I could buy the kids a treat. There stood Anika, my new found friend. We started talking again and ended up with me driving her back to Salt Lake at my invitation. Once again this was out of my box.

I found out that Anika wanted to do the very same Bible study that I am starting tomorrow night at my church. Guess what? She is coming with me! Two years ago I never would have agreed to sleep in a room with 3 strangers (sisters in Christ or not)but GOD is changing me and using what used to be my insecurities to teach me and to bring me to a woman who desperately needed a friend in her current church group, of which I don't attend! weird right... She has not felt welcomed at her current church and she has been attending for over a year and she has had some very unfortunate experiences there. I think GOD put us together for very specific reasons. I can't discount that He has a purpose here! I am feeling so very blessed! There are so many details I have had to leave out. I fear if I put it all in here you would be reading for days.
But I will tell you I am astonished in the ways that He moves us, works for us and through us!!!
Thanks for dropping by,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's been a while...

It has been awhile since I posted anything and I know you all are just dying to know what we have been up to, right?
We have been so busy these last few weeks just trying to squeeze the very last few drops we can out of summer. You see, here in Utah, June was so rainy, we did not get alot of play time. We are trying to hold onto summer as long as we can.
We have been camping at least 2x in August and been up to the lake atleast 6 times. Our first camping trip was the very first part of August. We went to Rockport State Park. We were below the dam and were there for Justin's annual family reunion. We had a great time and Justin's cousin Ron, took us out in his boat. THANKS RON! It was so much fun, and we had not been out on the water since I'd had Elyssa. That experience was so much fun that we went right out and bought some wave runners. From that point on we have been at the lake as often as possible. We discovered we really like Rockport because it is so close, only 45 minutes from our home. We then had another camp trip with alot of people from our church. That was a ton of fun and it just happened to be at Rockport.
We took our wave runners and had everybody out on the water. We had a blast! The best part of the wave runners is that it has forced us to have some down time! You have to sit on the beach and wait for a turn, this has caused me to really enjoy going to the lake, I am forced to sit and relax and do nothing for the majority of the day. The Kids absolutely love it!
Just this last weekend we took out the wave runners again and took another group of people from church. This time we really focused on a few close friends who had not been out with us and also some newer people at church that we were eager to get to know better. I am happy to report that every one had a great time. Even though the water was freezing! I am so thankful to the people who came out to the lake with us, it really made for an awesome trip. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera. But I do have photos from the last month or so. Posted below are some photos of what we have been up to. I will give a brief description for each.
Enjoy the pics!
This (dog) is half Timberwolf and half German Shepherd. One of Justin's cousins brought him and literally dropped him in the middle of the family gathering and tied him up right where everyone was gathered. He caused quite a fright for some of us mommies....
But as it turned out he was quite friendly, and loved the attention.Justin was really excited to go and meet him but I think he held back because between his mother and I, we were going to have a stroke.
This is one of my most favorite photos. I have a few of Grandma Bonnie but not with my daughter. On this occasion Elyssa walked up to her and gave her a hug and started the conversation. I was so proud of her for initiating a conversation and showing love. My kids have not been around grandma alot and her age is really catching up with her. She is disoriented alot and doesn't remember too much. But it really depends on the day. One morning Kasey (justin's sister) and I were brushing our teeth beneath this tree, when we looked up we found these mushrooms growing about 20 feetup the tree. We don't have any family portraits... sad right? So I am trying to rectify the situation by taking snapshots of us while we are out on adventures.As you know we home school and we never get school photos done. As we were leaving camp before we got on the freeway we stopped at this little gas station. They had the coolest old fence and I was so excited I made the kids sit for "school pics".
I am using this photo as a divider between subjects and cuz I think it is so cool. I went outside one day and low and behold there was a dragonfly sitting on the phone line above our deck. It stayed there just long enough for me to get a few shots and then it abandoned its siesta.Here are photos from Rockport once again but this time we are with our church family on a camp out. These are our new toys, the red one is called "The Dog" and the yellow one is called "El Chupacabra". (don't ask)Here the kids found a crawdad and they were freaking out on the beach. I don't think they knew what it was. They were even more freaked out that I would reach down and pick it up, but they were eager to get a really good look at it. Justin with his weed burner/campfire starter. Look close and you will see the flame.Some how I managed to get a photo with all 8 of the kids in it. Sunday morning worship after breakfast.Mitch is so sweet, he was really into the singing and he did a great job on the djembe.Sunday morning was cold and drizzly but the kids were still having a great time.

Thanks for dropping by!