Valentines Card 2013, a freebie!

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We made valentines last night for the kids to pass out at school. We settled on just making the same Valentine for all 3 this year, for simplicity sake. What do all 3 kids love? Gumballs! So we made a gumball machine valentine. Then I headed to the Dollar Tree for some bags of individually wrapped gum balls.

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I didn’t watch the gum ball bowl close enough. This baby, sneakily grabbed some and we found her in another room with gum ball cheeks!

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These turned out pretty darn cute! Kids signed their names on the front and taped a bum ball on the bottom- like it’s coming out of the machine.

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If you would like this Valentine freebie, follow my blog, or Pin this Valentine Card photo on Pinterest, or blog/facebook about them sharing a link. Then leave your email in the comments section and I will email the file to you!

Manhunt: 12-Day Chase For Lincoln’s Killer

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (P.S.)

This book is A-Maze-ing! All I knew of Lincoln’s death, was that he was in Ford Theater one night when he was assassinated by someone who hated him -so not a lot.

The title of the book states what it’s about. But it is amazing to learn how these men made their plan to kill Lincoln and how they were able to escape and stay hidden for so long. It’s amazing to me how they received so much help along the way. Very fascinating read.

This book reads quick like a novel, but it has been well-researched and amazingly it’s the true story. Reading this book, will have you sitting on the edge of your seat to hear each next step. I am hoping that they will take it to Hollywood and make a movie out of it.

Here is a link to Amazon, where you can get yourself a copy of it: (because if you haven’t read this one yet, you need to, pronto…)

Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (P.S.)

BBQ Pork Spareribs, crock pot style

Looking for amazing ribs? Ribs that are quick to fix? Ribs that fall off the bone from juicy tenderness? You have come to the right place then…let me introduce you to these amazing ribs!

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One thing I love about them, is that they do all the work themselves. I can pop them in the crock pot in the morning, and they will be ready the night. These are perfect for a sunday dinner, cooks while I’m off at church. I love coming home to a yummy smell and tasty food!

Ingredients are simple, technique is simple.

BBQ Pork Spareribs for the Crock Pot

What you’ll need for these babies:

1 onion (sliced into rings, or chopped into chunks- your preference)

3 lbs Spareribs

Salt/Pepper

BBQ Sauce (I used KC Masterpiece- use your favorite, or homemade)

Pretty simple right?!

After chopping your onion, layer it into the bottom of your slow cooker.

Cut off the membrane layer on the side of your ribs (optional).

Give the ribs a quick sprinkle and rub of salt and pepper on both sides. Then place ribs into the crock pot. (I set them on their ends to get them to fit in nicely- doesn’t matter just stick them in there.)

Now, you can pour the BBQ sauce over the top of the ribs now (will make for a runnier BBQ sauce) Or you can pour a little over the top, and then wait until closer to end time to drain some of the grease out, then pour the rest of the sauce on and cook a bit longer. Doesn’t matter- just personal preference.

Cook ribs 8-10 hours in the crock pot. Try not to open the lid for peeking, this lets the heat out and will effect your cooking.

The meat will be falling off the bones. And it is amazing! Your family will be busy smacking their lips and licking their fingers!

We ate ours yesterday with Mashed Potatoes, you just need to get your husband and daughter washing and peeling those potatoes for you! Everything tastes better, when made together! 🙂

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Apple Dips, and themed movie parties

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He just held our Monthly “Family Movie Night” party last night. Once a month we chose a day to surprise our kids with watching a new movie and eating snacks or a dinner that goes along with the theme of the movie. For Avengers we had an Avenger’s Ice Cream Shoppe -with different flavors of ice cream and fun toppings (Mint-Hulk, Red, White & Blue M&Ms- Capt. America…) We have had banana boats while watching “Tin Tin”, Seafood Stir fry dinner with fish sticks for “Big Miracle” (Whale movie)

For January’s Movie Night, we decided to watch “Mirror, Mirror” which I know is not new, but it was to us. To go along with our “theme”. We made a Poisoned Apple Bar. The kids loved this. I made 3 different Apple Dips and sliced a bowl of apples to dip in. Then we told the kids to “pick their poison”, and dip the apples in whichever poison they chose. For simplicity sake, I only made 3 dips which included topping in them, but you could have other bowl filled with candied poisons to sprinkle over the dip! And of course we also drank Apple Juice!

Here are a couple fun Apple Dip recipes for you to try out!

Caramel Apple Dip:

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1 tub apple caramel dip

1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened

heath candy bar bits to garnish top

Mix the caramel and cream cheese, sprinkle heath crumbs over the top.

Peanut Butter Apple Dip

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1 c. peanut butter (I used chunky to give it more texture)

1 jar marshmallow fluff

1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese

PB chips or other topping (optional)

Mix ingredients together. Sprinkle top with peanut butter chips or chocolate sprinkles or chopped peanuts.

Fudgy Apple Dip

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Fudge Sauce (ice cream topping)

2 T. milk, hot too cold

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This dip was not an actual recipe. We just used fudge sauce, I added a couple T. of milk to thin it down a bit. Mix, Then sprinkle with a fun topping like sprinkles, chocolate chips or crumbled mint oreo cookies! That’s what we did. This was my smaller kids favorite of the dips!

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This was a super fun activity. The show was definitely quirky and interesting…it was a fun night.

Anniversary Day!

11 years ago today, this was us!

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Now, older, and hopefully wiser too- I love looking back at all that has happened in our lives since then. So many unexpected things…joys, struggles, triumphs. Life has been wonderful with this man beside me. Excited to share forever with him.

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We were married in this beautiful building. The LDS Manti Utah Temple. This beautiful temple was built clear back in 1888. It has the most beautiful architecture and design. If you are curious about it you can read about more of it’s history at this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manti_Utah_Temple

Or if you’re just interested in learning about LDS people and what our Temples are all about head to this website to learn more:

http://www.lds.org/church/temples?lang=eng

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

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.

Hattie Big Sky

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.)

saf

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!