Monday, November 22, 2010

random heavy thoughts part 2 (or something like that)

 I do feel as though I should continue writing. It is my saga (I have a tiny bit of drama queen in me) and I think it will be therapeutic to put into words what has been going on in my head. If it seems too much like I am complaining or whining, I apologize! 

So I had some thoughts that I feel I need to get out and that is why I sit here at 7:30 am writing it out. 
I thought I needed to begin where I feel it all started and see where it goes from there.

Last October a little over a year ago. 
I was helping to plan a wedding, well more accurately I was catering the wedding. A huge affair. One of the biggest weddings I have ever done. Because you see I have only done 2 and they were both really big! Any how there was a ton to be done and I had the most amazing crew ever. I felt like I had everything organized.

I not only did the wedding reception, but also the rehearsal dinner, and helped with the bridal shower as well. Mind you I am not complaining I am just trying to put things in perspective.

Check out these bridal lingerie shower cookies we came up with.   

Then 2 weeks after the big wedding Justin and I renewed our wedding vows and had a large ceremony, which was extremely stressful for me. Happy but stressful! the first wedding was right before Thanksgiving and my ceremony was like 3 weeks later. I had not even thought about Christmas at this point.
Check out these pics
I forgot to mention that between the above photo

 and the photo below, we got our tattoos! Instead of exchanging rings.

Yesterday I grounded my kids, They were forced to clean their rooms. In the meanwhile I got sucked in to helping just a little bit. And in Ashton's Closet there was a gift we received when we renewed our vows. It felt like my birthday! I had no idea it was even there!!! I don't even remember receiving it. Justin just laughed at me. So I really do believe I am or was going crazy.

Eventually Christmas rolled around. Not quite sure how it all went down, I know we apparently survived because I am still here. I don't remember a whole lot about it though.

So during this whole time I was homeschooling my kids. I had the kids enrolled in a virtual academy, using the same curriculum I always had. However the staff at this particular School made things extremely stressful for me! I was constantly upset with them and under a ton of pressure. Needless to say we did not re-enroll with them this year.
Well, as spring of 2010 rolled around I started having heart palpitations and what felt like mini anxiety attacks. I still get a few now and again but basically they have subsided. I went through test after test and even had to wear a heart monitor, but I am in good shape! Nothing wrong here.

During the summer break I was completely convinced that I was going to get my whole house in order and get all of my office/school room/craft room organized. I even got myself started on the fly lady program! Swish and swipe the toilet and sink everyday....shine your sink every night....get dressed to shoes first thing every morning....Monday home blessing hour....
well that lasted until July 18th!

I didn't mention that during this time I also had a major role in planning 4 huge Baby showers!
 Christa had twins, shower was in March.

Natalie had a boy, shower was in May.

 Erin had twins, shower was in September

Mandy is having a girl, shower was in November.

So far a really busy year!  But if we back up a bit, I will tell you about that day in July. The day after my 34th birthday. The day when I was called and told my baby sister was in a Life Flight chopper on it's way to the University Hospital. I was worried but determined not to freak out YET.
She was in the hospital for 36 days, her injuries were extreme. She was on life support, for the first 6 days, in a coma as well. She broke her back, had a brain injury, broken pelvis, internal bleeding, had her spleen removed, and part of her intestines  as well.   I practically lived at the hospital for the first 18 days of that. Then we decided taking turns would be easiest. It came at a bit of a cost though. My daughter is extremely clingy now. She is 10, and she used to be able to have sleepovers away from home. But not anymore. She just can't handle it.

After Abi got home from the hospital my mom had to leave town for 10 days. She needed the break too. Abi, moved into my house. She was a good patient. Caring for someone with her extent of injuries is exhausting. Even though she could eat and take care of her most basic needs, I felt like I was always on guard. I had to shower her, do her hair, change her dressings. At first it was me doing the work but I soon got her to start helping. She was able to wash up and I only needed to do her hair which was a whole other emotional mine field, she lost a ton of hair every time we washed.  Getting her out of the shower was another matter entirely. She had lost so much weight that she would just freeze, she was skin and bones. It was the end of August and I would have to turn on the electric blanket and get the bed good and warm. Line it with towels, help her to the bed, get her brace off, cover her in towels and the electric blanket and watch her shiver for an hour. Then we would redress her wound and get her dressed. I want to take a nap just thinking about it!

Then my husband went hunting in early October. I always go crazy overboard with the emotional baggage I have, when it comes time for him to go hunting. I cry, I give him hell. Well this year was different. He asked if I was ok when he was getting ready to leave. I told him, "I'm fine, in fact I don't have the energy to care that you are leaving." And that was not a lie and it was not being mean it was just the truth of where I was at. I was empty of anything even remotely resembling myself. I had to get through everyday of this last year on auto pilot, what ever that is.

I really don't know if I was depressed or exhausted or suffering from Mono, maybe all three. But what ever it was/is I hope it is over and I want to make sure I don't go back there ever again.  

So Much more seems to be happening or happened and I just don't have time right now to put it all down. I am still homeschooling my kids, and this time around I am enjoying it!

 Right now it is time for school, and then I have to figure out what dessert I am taking to Thanksgiving Dinner, go shopping, take back my over due library books, etc....

You know they say, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I want to look into the future and say, "See there, you survived that hellish year and look at you now!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

just some random heavy thoughts and a cranberry vinaigrette recipe

Where to even start????
I have been going through a ton of stuff lately (not the kind you throw out, but the emotional stressful stuff) well, for the last year I suppose... So many things have been overwhelming or lacking (spiritually speaking) which can be over taxing in itself.  I don't exactly know where to begin or what to share. I almost feel as if I have been just existing for the last year and I actually was sharing with one of my girlfriends that I feel, I have been in survival mode. I know a lot of you out there can relate. Maybe I was depressed or overspent but for sure I felt like something in me was broken. I almost felt like I was going crazy at times.

Today feels like a turning point.

I can tell you that I have been sick this last week. And for some reason I am feeling so much more relaxed, now that I am getting over this gunk, than I have in a very long time. Maybe because I took a whole sick day yesterday and went back to bed after breakfast. I just feel different today, I have energy and I feel like I am actually looking forward to this holiday season.

I had my Hubby get out the tree today (don't know what I would do with out that man! He loves me so well!). I have been making ornaments as well, cute paper ones. Elyssa and I are doing the Little House on the Prairie curriculum and thought it would be appropriate to make our own paper ornaments and also some strings of popcorn for garland. We are still going to put on white lights, just because I think candles are a bit overboard, haha. That is a whole other kind of stress I am not willing to get myself into.

I went to church today like I do every week. And I usually have a ton to do while I am there.  The same was true today. Maybe a blanket of snow covering everything and making it look beautiful helped make the change I am feeling. (Did I mention I hate winter and snow?) Maybe it was my praying "God, Help me feel joy again." over and over and over again. Do you know how hard it is to pray when you feel spiritually constipated?

What ever the change I feel different today and that is to say, I was laughing all the way home with my kids and husband. We had a great time at Costco... Weird right?  I feel rested and at peace, and at church I actually felt like I was not there to serve coffee and make the sound board do its job. But I was there to worship. I feel like there is something freeing up in me. I admit I danced a little back there in the booth. Not holy-roller-dancing-in-the-aisle kind of stuff but dancing none the less.

And when I went down to put a load of laundry to wash, even there I felt a sense of joy, accomplishment, and   well being.  Hmmm, I think the winds of change are blowing. I even put in another load after the first one. Crazy, I tell ya.  Did you know I lit some candles too?  I am going to have to reign this thing in a little before I pull a muscle or something.  

(Did you count how many times I put the words feel or felt? me neither. I think there are too many. I know I am not supposed to rely on my feelings but that is the only way I  FEEL like I can express what I am trying to say.)

Well I guess I better just stop now and give it all some time to sink in so I am going to leave you with a recipe for cranberry vinaigrette. This is great if you have a can of cranberry sauce that you need to use up.

In a food processor combine:
1/2 can cranberry sauce 
1/2 an onion 
2tsp Italian herb seasoning
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup sugar
and process until pureed
next add 
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Process until well combined. 

 The End Result

I served this over salad greens with crumbled blue cheese, croutons, and some diced apples or pears. Throw on some candied nuts or sunflower seeds if you have them on hand.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Purple Zebra Baby Shower and fancy caramel apples

I just helped to host a baby shower for a friend of mine. I had a hard time coming up with a good shower theme. So I decided to go with the nursery theme. It tends to make it unique to each shower guest of honor.  Her nursery colors were purple and zebra. Which I think are adorable together. The problem I had was making sure it stayed looking like a BABY shower and not a bachelorette party. 

I was able to pull it off using light pink as an accent color. This shower was done on a very tight budget, but I don't think you would be able to tell. I used fabric 12x12 inch squares on the center of the tables, then spread a mound of shredded metallic gift bag filler in the middle of that. Then I put gift tissue wrapped toilet paper rolls in the center of that, and sprinkled the table with purple star confetti and pink heart confetti. 

The Lunch Buffet table had a purple table cloth and more zebra fabric as a table runner. I originally wanted to use gift wrap but could not find any zebra print gift wrap.  

We served Chicken salad croissant sandwiches,  Egg salad Croissant sandwiches, Garden tomatoes stuffed with chicken salad, Tortilla chips with mango and avocado salsa, Cream puffs drizzled with pink and purple Chocolate, green salad with cranberries and almonds, pink fluffy fruit salad. 

Pink Lemonade was served with  sprite added to give it a little fizz, and for color, some limes.

And last but certainly not least... Caramel apples! 
It is the season for a good caramel apple and these did not disappoint. First I made the caramel, the secret to getting the caramel to stick is to keep the washed and dried apples in the fridge until you dip them. They need to be super cold. 
After I dipped them in caramel and rolled the bottoms and sides in chopped nuts, I put them back in the fridge for a few minutes. Then I melted some extra dark chocolate chips in a ziplock baggie. I cut off the tip and drizzled on the apples and then put them back in the fridge again. It only take a couple of minutes in the fridge because they are cold to begin with. After the Dark chocolate I used white chocolate and pink and purple chocolates, You can get these from Wilton in the cake and candy making section of almost any store. They are candy wafer melts. Lastly I felt that they needed a bow so I tied one on each stick. I presented them on a tray if the guests wanted them during the shower but while we were playing games I bagged them in clear cellophane baggies from the dollar store, and gave them to the guests as they were leaving. Can I just tell you the smell of these are divine. I had to hold a tray of 20 of these things! Let me tell you they are heavy too. 

Here is the recipe for the caramel. It is seriously just as quick and easy to make this recipe as it is to UNWRAP all of those little caramels. 
1/2 cup butter cubed
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
dash of salt
1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla 
10-12 popsicle sticks
10-12 med. tart apples
1 cup salted chopped peanuts. 

Note: I used about 20 small gala apples 2 1/2 inches. They are sold in a bag every where right now. This recipe covered all of them. I also used Sea salt and added about a teaspoon because I really like the sea salt caramels that are popping up all over now as well. 

In a large heavy sauce pan, melt the butter, add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture come to a boil, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads about 240 degrees, firm ball stage.  Remove from the heat stir in the vanilla.
Insert popsicle sticks into the apples. Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture, turn to coat. dip bottom of apples into the nuts, set on greased wax paper, to cool. 
Yield : 10-12 apples. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

October Photos of the month

Look at me trying to get all caught up!

Is the month of tricks or treats..... hence my first story!
My husband was trying to light the bbq for me. It was Sunday, October 31st. I kept telling him to get his face out of the bbq away from the grill. He just gave me that, "I'm a man I know what I am doing" look.  Well suffice it to say a fire ball came straight out of that bbq right into his face. We both jumped back, and I admit I  screamed like a girl. He got singed everywhere, his eye lashes and brows, arms, beard, mustachio, hair, behind his ears. And it smelled horrid. I laughed until I cried. Ok, after I made sure he was alright, I laughed until I almost wet myself...

 The kids decided they wanted to be gnomes for halloween, here they are posing as grumpy gnomes. 

Our good friends Christa and Jesse brought their kids to a get together we went to and they brought the twins as Thing 1 and Thing 2, little marshal was the cutest cowboy but some how I failed to get his picture. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Christa was not even the tiniest bit afraid to spray the babies' hairs blue. 

 Seems like the only time Justin and I get a picture together is if we are going out on a date night. Which are far and few between!

Our Pumpkin Carving Party, end result. Fun was had by all and JJ brought his famous homemade chocolate chip cookies. They were YUMMY!

 I had to have a hat for a Madd Hatter tea party, it was our version of a ladies night out combined with a halloween party.  This is the hat I made out of a Winco paper bag, and scraps that I had lying around. 

Julianna wore this hat to the tea party. Her sister wore it while skating in the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It was a hit and got passed around a lot. 

Some people are going to think I am going to hell after this next picture.... yes I dyed my daughter's hair blue because she wanted it done and because it is just hair.  I even put a little bit of blue in my own hair. 

 I painted a butterfly on my face again this year for halloween. It kinda matches the blue in my hair too. 

That is it for October! See the post below for September. 
I have also taken a ton of photos for November already so I will be getting all my ducks in a row for that post at the end of the month. I want to do a post on the baby shower I just hosted for my friend Mandy as well. and put up the recipe for caramel apples. 

September photos of the month

Well my computer had technical difficulties and that is all I am going to say about that. Anyway all of my photos were on that computer, so I was not able to put up a September Photos of the Month Post.  I am happy to announce that my regular computer is up and running again thanks to my wonderful husband.  So with out further adieu, 


I signed up to participate in an Apron swap, It was my first time ever and I was really excited because the theme was Alice in Wonderland. Let's just say things did not go according to plan and I was not able to participate. The sign up was right before Abi's accident. Anyhow the hostess of the swap contacted me after seeing my post about Abi and told me that she had people who had volunteered to be an Angel and create my apron and send it to my partner for me. It was an incredible blessing and a wonderful surprise when I got a package in the mail a few weeks later with my apron and goodies in it.  In the box was a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a set of heart shaped measuring spoons, a mad hatter necklace, Alice and the rabbit paper dolls, and some hand made note cards. Along with a gorgeous apron as well. 

My husband organized a campfire worship and we had a good turn out. We set up a campfire pit behind the church, put out a few tables with some lemonade. Everyone brought treats and snacks as well as hot dogs to roast and we all had a great time singing around the campfire. 
 Cheva, Nate, Scott, Danjuma, Justin

 Abi, Jolene

My good friend had her baby shower after her twins were born. I had picked up this vinyl wall stickers for part of her gift. It brought me to tears to see that she put it on the crib.

My kids have been loving the game cuponk, only we are too frugal ok cheap to purchase the real thing. So we made up our own. Only ours consisted of a 44oz. drink cup, and 6 ping pong balls. We have enjoyed it so much that we decided to make some for birthday gifts. We decided that we could not use a drink refill cup from the gas station because that would be a bit tacky. So we went to the store and scoured the aisles for something suitable. We came up with this box, which just happens to have a convenient locking lid, about $3. and 6 ping pong balls, about $5. In total the game costs about $8 to make and saves about $7 off the retail price of the Cuponk. 

We made up our own trick cards and included them in the box. 

  Well I guess that about wraps up September!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a foodie contest count me in!

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me: -- Fine Bulk Foods 
The Foodie BlogRoll

I would like to give this contest a try so here goes! I could use a little bit of adventure !!!!

I just need to answer a few important questions first.

  1. Q.Why do you want to compete in this challenge? 
  2. A. Adventure in the kitchen, it sounds like so much fun. 

  3. Q.Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?
  4. A. Oooh tough decision....Julia Child, I used to sit and watch her on television as a kid before there was anything like food network. Saturday afternoons I would be glued to the television waiting to see exactly what creation she would come up with. 

  5. Q. What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking? 
  6. A. anything with cheese on it. 

  7. Q. Sum your childhood up in one meal.
  8. A. Enchiladas, fresh homemade beans and tortillas, Spanish rice.

  9. Q. The one mainstream food you can’t stand? 
  10. A. Mayonaise

Wish me luck I am super excited to enter this contest. I will keep you posted as to the results. For more info on the contest click on the Iron Foodie badge above.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Justin's most excellent idea!

O K! I realize I am probably on my own here but I have a terrible time remembering that I have put a load of laundry to wash and/or dry.  I just don't seem to be able to run down there and change it out, most of the time.  My kids do their own laundry. And the 10 year old has a hard time remembering she put a load in to wash. Ashton generally remembers he has a load washing but he forgets to take it out of the dryer. I asked Elyssa the other night if she had a load in the washer and she had forgotten about it, but it was too late to put it to dry so I told her she would have to remember first thing in the morning to get it drying. I absolutely hate that mildewy smell from the wash that has been forgotten and then it seems like I have to wash it a couple more times to get rid of the smell before I can dry them. Can you see the vicious cycle going on here?

 Justin was listening in on this conversation and he said to Elyssa, "We need to get you a necklace to wear when you have laundry washing!"

Well an Idea was born and I am going to show you what Elyssa and I came up with.

 This project cost me a total of $2.25 because I already had the waxed twine.

I went down to Michael's and picked out 2 wood cut outs that had already been painted. We went with a Duck for the wash and turtle for the dryer.  They were 59 cents each. 
Then I picked up a bag of bells for 99 cents. 
I had my husband drill a hole in each one and I wrote WASH or DRYER on each of them with a Sharpie.  
I tied a bell around the neck of each cut out and then put the waxed twine on for a necklace. I made it large enough that even I could wear it. 
It only took a few minutes to get the entire project completed. 
I just need to put up 2 hooks in the laundry room to hang the laundry necklaces. 

I am really excited to see how this works out for us. 
Thanks Honey for a great idea!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I have not abandoned you! and Photos of the month

I feel like I have totally abandoned this blog! It has been over a month since I have posted. It is just that I have been super busy and I feel like I never get caught up. I never posted my september photos of the month because my other computer died with all photos inside. My bad I know they should all be on disks or uploaded to a site somewhere or backed up on an external hard drive or something like that. Fear not they are not completely gone it just needs to be repaired. Well I will attempt to put an october photos of the month together even though I just feel like I have been interrupted. 

And then my husband came up with a genius idea I will post about in a few days... I can't wait to show you what it is. I was so impressed!!!!

But on to the photos for October

I dyed my hair blue. not all of it mind you but a couple of streaks. And yes it is permanent but it's all good. It is just hair.  

And Elyssa got some blue hair too. 

The kids wanted to be garden gnomes for halloween.  And I have to say this was the easiest costume ever!!!!

"Thing 1 and Thing 2"  Christa and Jesse with their gorgeous little things!

Elyssa has taken up the clay and she love it. This was her Van Gogh.

My madd hatter tea party hat. I made this from a paper bag and scraps I had laying around.

This years halloween butterfly.

Thanks for stopping by. I will be posting that project my husband came up with in a couple days.