Photo Sale!

For a limited time,  25% Discount on orders of $50 or more at reflectedpixel.com. A fine art Photography website.

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Expires on Valentines Day 2013
Use Code: rpx2255
www.reflectedpixel.com

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Choose amazing prints of Landscapes, Nature, LDS Temple Photos… These are amazing photos done by professional photographer, Jon Adams who lives in UT and runs his photo site, found here: reflectedpixel.com. Don’t forget to use the code to get your discount!

Head to this gallery to choose your order! -Prints, Canvas Wraps, Metallic Prints…

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Head to the Facebook to “like” his page. Found here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/reflectedPixelcom/51955422849?fref=ts

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Hattie Big Sky, sweet read

Just thought I’d give a shout out to this cute book I picked up from the library last week. It is a novel based on the life of the Author’s Great Grandmother, Hattie. It is about a young girl who orphaned and is constantly tossed between relatives, until at the age of 16 she gets a chance to move to Montana to prove up on her Uncle’s land. She is hoping for a chance to keep her uncle’s claim and have a real home of her own. It is a quick, easy read. I enjoyed the characters in this book and the touching experiences between them. I loved the simplicity of this book, and it’s real struggles and triumphs. It is just a sweet little book that I enjoyed recently. Even my 10 year old daughter enjoyed sitting in a chair and listening to this story. I got the audible version, so we listened to it. The lady who reads it has some great voices for the characters, enjoyed listening to it.

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You can find it on Amazon, here’s a link to go straight to it:

Hattie Big Sky

I love the website Goodreads.com, are you a member? I love keeping track of the books I have read and which I liked and why. But I especially love to see what my friends and family are reading and what they recommend for me! My family is full of readers, so I get some great suggestions from them. No matter how fast I try to read, my “to-read” list just seems to grow and grow. But I love that. I love requesting books online at the library, and this website helps me keep all these things organized! It’s also fun to browse through to choose which type of Book I’m in the mood for: light fluffy fiction, history, how-to…

If you haven’t joined Goodreads, you ought to head there and try it out. Here’s a quick link for you:

http://www.goodreads.com

 

Missing this today!

Just about now, as I sit in my home with this icy, snowy, stormy weather about me… This place is looking really good!

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These amazing waves can be found off the beach of Oahu, Hawaii. The beach is named Makapu’u Beach. This amazing first photo, is an image my awesome husband photographer took, while we were there last spring. You can find his photography website (reflectedPixel) here to browse: http://www.reflectedpixel.com

(By the way, he has an awesome sale going on this month. 25% off any order of $50 or more. So head on over and check out his galleries! Makes for awesome gifts… Valentines anyone?)

This is me enjoying the ocean waves with the Boogie Board, playing in these same waves. We spent a whole afternoon there, after a morning of Scuba-ing in Hanauma Bay.

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Makapu’u Beach has these crazy fun waves that are daring and wild, nothing like the massive North shore 40 feet waves. But they stand their own, and are still quite scary, and fun. I was smashed and thrown and swirled under these waves over and over, until I was beat. Here I am same day, but after I’ve been thrown and drowned and twisted and scraped. Does wonders to your hair, don’t you think?

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We took this amazing trip with my parents and siblings, no kids. It was an adventure, a pleasure and I will never forget it.

It was the second time that Jon and I had been to this island. We spent our honeymoon in Waikiki ten years before this photo. It will be eleven years since our wedding and first trip, later this week! Congrats to us! Here we are in Honolulu 11 years ago, on our Honeymoon. Love you babe!

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Freeze-Ahead Crescent Rolls- so simple, and good

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One of my favorite roll recipes! These are soft and fluffy and amazing! I have yet to ruin the dough. They are so very simple to make. The dough only needs to raise once (after rolls are shaped), which makes for a quick batch of rolls. But they are also very easy to mix them up, shape them and freeze a batch so they can be ready for dinner or lunch any day you need.

Let’s get started. What you’ll need:

Freeze-Ahead Crescent Rolls

3 tsp. SAF instant yeast (you can use regular yeast, if you don’t have this kind)

2 c. warm water

1/2 c. butter, softened

2/3 c. dry milk powder

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. instant potato flakes

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. salt

6-6 1/2 c. flour (first use 3 cups, then another 3 adding gradually)

This is what the SAF instant yeast looks like. (If you don’t have this, you can still use regular yeast in it’s place, just make sure your water is warm for it.)

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In your Kitchenaid, or by hand, dissolve the yeast into the water. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Add just enough flour in gradually until it’s a nice dough. Should not be dry/crumbly, or too sticky, add more flour if to wet. Mix until incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Get ready to roll the dough out. Make sure your helpers are ready to roll their own mini rolls. Here are my mini-helper babes.

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Flour your countertop to prepare for rolling it out, as well as your rolling pin. Knead the dough 8-10 times to get it ready. Split the dough in half. Time to roll out the first ball. Roll it out into a nice round shape, maybe a 1/4″ thick, or to your liking. Using a pizza slicer cut through the round dough to create 16 triangles (like a pizza).

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Roll up each triangle piece starting from the wide outside edge into the middle point. Some people like to curve the ends a bit on the rolls, but I just keep mine straight.

To get them ready to freeze, you will place them on a cookie sheet (can use wax paper on sheet or just spray it lightly-what I do).

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Place the pan into the freezer (no need to cover them) to do a flash freeze. Once the rolls are frozen (maybe an hour), take them out and place the batch in a ziplock bag and place back into the freezer. It’s a good idea to label the date on it, so you know how old they are. (Normally, I would put these into a ziplock bag, but I noticed I was out, as I was getting these made. So I will be heading to the store shortly to get that). For now, this will do.

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Then when you’re ready to bake them, place the frozen rolls on a baking sheet. Cover them now and let them thaw (works great to let them thaw overnight in the fridge). Now that they are thawed, let them raise for 1 hour or until they have doubled their size. Bake at 350 for 15-17 mins. or until golden brown on top. Brush tops with melted butter after pulling them out.

To show you just how nicely they work out. This roll has been frozen over night, taken out of the freezer the next day to thaw and raise, then baked. Look at what a beauty it is?!

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Yum-o! Deliciousness!

To Bake them right away (skipping the freezer): Place the dough rolls onto a pan that has been sprayed. Leave at least 2″ between rolls. Cover them with a cloth and let raise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 15-17 mins or until golden brown on top. Brush tops with melted butter.

**Another fun idea: Fill the dough triangles with ham and cheese before rolling them up. My kids love me to make these for school lunches. Bake them and place in individual baggies with twist ties and keep in the freezer. When making lunches in the morning, take out of freezer, place in lunch bag and it should thaw in time for lunch.

Enjoy these beauties!

Orange Peel Sugar Scrub, and other uses

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What to do with these little beauties? I have 2 little girls at home all day, plus a kindergartener who is home half day. (Plus 2 full-time schoolers) “The babies”, as we call our 2 youngest girls, age 2, and 3, are always into something…I’m sure I’ll share more on this later. Lately it’s oranges. They devour them quickly leaving behind a pile of orange peels on the counter, on the couch, on the table or floor. While picking them up today, I decided I ought to use the peels up in a good way. I’ve been wanting to try to make my own sugar scrubs since this fall, so I began a search for a simple recipe with ingredients I already had on hand. I found one that looked good from this cute blog (http://gritsandgiggles.blogspot.com), and gave it a try, changing the ingredients just a bit. It was so fast and simple- just my kind of recipe! Not to mention it turned out beautiful and delicious-smelling!

I also discovered some fun info about the benefits they can give your skin (source: http://www.greenparenthood.com)

“Orange peel for glowing skin.  Orange peel works wonder on the skin, it helps to reduce pimple acne, wrinkles and patchy skin, when applied as face mask or when dropped in bathing water and used to scrub over the skin. The antioxidants and vitamin C in the peels helps to get a clean and glowing complexion after a few weeks of trying it.”

Before I show you how to make it, let me just say that I will post photos along with the recipe, but I don’t like blogs showing every single ingredient added one at a time. I think we all know what that looks like. I will try to just add them at places that I think it may help.

Now, let’s get started. You will need:

A pint-sized mason jar (could probably fit it into 2 half that sized however).

3/4 c. granulated sugar

5 T. olive oil

zest from 1-2 oranges (I used the leftover peels from 2 oranges)

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Zest your orange peels. If you have an actual zester, good for you. I do not however, so I just used the tiniest grater holes to do the job. Works out just fine. Watch your fingers while zesting! You don’t want to turn the pretty orange coloring into a red.  :/ Be sure to collect all the zest from the front and back of your zester/grater and whatever fell into your bowl.

Measure the sugar out and add it to the fresh orange zest. Rub them together, which will release some of the natural oils from the zest. Then gradually add in the oil to combine it into a good consistency. Once mixed, pour it into your cute jar.

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Makes for a perfect gift to pass along. Love how bright and cheery the colors are, and it smells like sunshine. With the dry winter heat- my skin is ready for some pampering!

I was new to these sugar scrubs last fall when my sweet sister made one for our hands. It was so delightful! So for those who are wondering what exactly to do with it: rinse your hands/feet in warm water to allow your pores to open up. Rub this scrub onto your hands/feet and scrub up. Rinse scrub away and enjoy your oh so soft skin! You can also place your jar by your shower, and rub it on your body after after getting wet. I would think you’d use it for an occasional shower/bath, not sure that you need to use it every day. Especially in the winter when the air is so dry, this is such a treat for your skin!

Now, before you throw out those (twice) leftover peels…stick them down your sink disposal to help clean and freshen up your drain! Pretty good if you ask me. These 2 oranges have been used today for 3 great causes: Snack, Skin, Sink! (Ignore my dirty sink, I’ve been busy painting and it needs a good scrub). Ah, the smell that comes after grinding them in the disposal is wonderful citrusy goodness!

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While trying to decide earlier today what to use my orange peels for, I came across a lot of other interesting ideas of ways to use them up, check out some of these other useful ideas: (google these ideas for more info on them).

ORANGE PEEL USES:

*Can be used as an insect repellent for ants, mosquitos…

*Can be used to rid cats away from yards/gardens, apparently they hate the scent?

*Makes a fabulous potpourri if simmered with cloves and cinnamon in a stove top pan.

*Adds nutrients to a garden compost

*Zest can be used for making Orange Rolls (Mmmmm, my favorite!)

*Kindling/Fire Starter. Apparently the oils in it are flammable, who knew?

*Brown Sugar softener. Placing it in your tub of brown sugar supposedly keeps the sugar from clumping up and turning into a brick.

*Effectively used as a sponge before it dries out, for cleaning.

*Can be made into a natural cleaner soaking it in vinegar for a couple weeks.

*Can lower your blood pressure if consumed. Can’t imagine eating the peels, but I guess if it saves your life?!

Some of these are new to me, and pretty amazing. Although I can’t personally vouch for all of them. Do you have any other orange peel tips/uses? I’d love to hear more!

Digital Photo Albums – how to

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Getting organized…isn’t that what we do every January? Because my kids have had such photo happy parents, we have boxes, tubs, and cases full of CD’s, DVD’s and hard drives full of their cute little faces. It’s overwhelming just how much we have.

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For those who don’t know it, CD’s only have a short life span of roughly 10 years before they are no longer reliable. That is not a very long time. Even hard drives and back ups are not always trustworthy. For that reason, I feel a big need to finally get at least the best of our images onto paper for another “back up”. Anyone else feeling overwhelmed and wish they started a system on day one?…Me me me!

There are so many ways to organize photos, I love the idea of scrapbooks, but I’m very turned off by all the extra “cute” clutter that cover the pages. With that thought in mind. I decided to make albums/scrapbooks that are simple and also tell the story of each of my kids life.

The best idea I came up with, in order to give my albums some style- was to use the program “Pages” (I believe it’s only for Macs, but there must be something similar for PCs- sorry). Using pages, I went to look through all the templates they offer. They do not have a photo album template, but their templates are changeable by dragging photo/text boxes around, etc. So I chose a poster template called “Garden Project Poster”. Choose the smaller size to work on 8.5×11 paper. It had a basic but custom look that I thought would look great printed as well as work for either boy/girl to simplify my life, since this is already a huge project I’m undertaking!

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Using that template, I arranged photo boxes and text boxes into a pleasing look. You can then go to “File”, then “Save as a Template”. After I dragged and dropped the photos I wanted into the page, I saved it as a copy into a file on my desktop. Then you can play with that template to make a new page, to add some variety to the look of your album. I created maybe 10 different page templates that I liked. Each template has a varied number of photo boxes on it, some have a place for text, others no text. That way as I’m going through each photo shoot, I can quickly decide which page I want based on how many images I need/want to use and if there is a special memory of it that I want to include. I think the text choice offers a very sweet touch to these pages. Little things I remember about my babies that I may not have otherwise thought about, but it’s recorded here for my kids to smile and giggle at.

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Out of my 5 kids I have only begun my 2 oldest kids books, and I’m not done with theirs by all means, but it is a start. And that is better than nothing. Hope to get these all caught up for each of my kids, but it will take me a long time, I’m sure. Eventually I will be printing them out and sticking them into plastic sheets in a binder for each child. I may make duplicates of some of the special pages for my own binder of it all too!

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I do love the way they are turning out and I’m very pleased with it. It’s amazing how many memories and thoughts come flooding back to mind mind as I work on these pages. Not to mention the hundreds of images that I get to rediscover that I have forgotten about. It really is a happy project! Hope this idea can work for some others as well. (Sorry it’s not PC friendly)! Now go get started, let me know if you have other ideas or questions on these, I’m happy to help out! 🙂