Alma 32:41

...Nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wanna See What I Made?

Here are the ties that I freezer stenciled for my Father in Law. These were my "official" Wheeler family homemade gift. My family just makes gifts for each other anyway but in Matt's family there is a separate homemade gift and bought gift pool. I made gifts for the nephews and nieces anyway... They aren't part of the pool. Freezer paper is AWESOME! I bought some shirts on clearance to I may dress up some of my drab Ts. :)

Bears have special signifigance as my FIL Inked drawings of bears to represent each of his kids. He's the Papa Bear and protector of the family.

This is Kaden's reversible cape. He wouldn't wear it at first. Now he loves to run "fast" in it. I'm glad he got over his dislike of it so fast. I was worried for a bit... I think it turned out pretty dang cool. Excellent tutorial here: Puking Pastilles.

Here's what I made for the babies of the family. I made one for Asher and one for my nephew Austin.

More to come but right now I need a nap while both of my boys are napping too. One of Asher's top teeth FINALLY broke through this morning and the other is not far behind (his gums are all swollen and white with the impending tooth). I'm hoping for more sleep tonight- he's been waking up every hour or less for the last three nights in a row.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

My friend April introduced this soup to me and I crave it often. We've had some cold days recently so I bought the ingredients at the store and I can't wait to make it. The original recipe can be found here at
I am the only one in my little fam (my DH doesn't do veggies and my toddler won't even try most things and the seasoning is a little much for the baby though it is mild) who will eat this and so I do over a few days. It is heavenly. It also freezes well so you can make it and save some for later.
And here it is copied and pasted in my blog! Notes in parentheses are from me.

  • 6 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash ( I buy it frozen or this time of year you can buy it chopped in a baggy (Costco has had it for the last two years) to save timeOR others recommend cutting the squash in half and baking it at 350 for 40 minutes and then just scoop it out. It's a really hard squash. )
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cubes chicken bouillon (OR instead of water and boullion use 3 cups of chicken broth (about one and a half cans))
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (OR use italian seasoning which has marjoram in it- I like it better)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (I think I use all of the cream cheese... I can't remember...makes it nice and thick and creamy - not brothy at all)
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Too neon?

Thanks to Thirty Handmade Days (see sidebar) I got a cool background. She is giving away a Blog fairy makeover. She's got some great free backgrounds too! Check her out! So what do you think? Can you read the writing well enough? Is it too bright? Should I tone it down some? Let me know...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pity Party and the clean up

Today has been a failure. I have been on the computer too much, had the tv on too much, yelled at Kaden too much, ignored cleaning too much, been impatient and unreasonable too much. The clincher was when I laid down for a short nap and Asher woke up. I cried. He's been keeping me up a lot lately and I am fighting a cold so it was pity party time. I whined and complained in my head for a few minutes. Then I stuck Asher in the exersaucer(serves him right for waking up- take that! play with some toys while I make faces at you and scare you with the vaccum cleaner!) and cleaned the living room. I needed a space of sanity. I needed to accomplish something. It feels good to have the floor clear even for a few minutes. I will enjoy sitting on it and typing for a few more minutes and then I will throw some toys out and let Asher play. I realized that I believe in a few cleaning myths...

a) That cleanliness will radiate out from one clean room and soon the whole house will be clean. I keep thinking that if I have the main two rooms clean then we can get to the rest of the house and clean it really well. Somehow I am always spending my time cleaning the main two rooms (and bathroom) and the rest of the house ... well let's just say I am thankful for closed doors and few visitors.

b) That I can get cleaning done when Matt is home over the weekend. Nope, House always looks worse on Monday...

c) That Matt understands my cleaning thought processes and will just magically do jobs (since he must enjoy cleaning more than I do. :) ). I left boxes by the front door to go in the garage just assuming he will do it( because he won't have to carry the baby and the boxes). I get annoyed when I see them still there but I don't think I ever told him to put them away. Or... I empty the dishwasher and think " good now we can put dishes in here instead of the sink. I leave an unwashed dinner pot in the sink (since it can't go in the dishwasher) and so Matt doesn't even think to check if the dishwasher is empty or not because of the dish in the sink and just adds his to the new pile. arghhh...

d) It's ok for me to make a mess and leave it out for days... but not anyone else. Yeah... I'm a punk.

O.k. now I need to get back to work restoring sanity to my house. Time to clean up the pity party and bash some myths out of my brain.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Family photos and crafting

Family photos! My cousin, Karalee, has an awesome camera, an eye for shots, and a lightening fast trigger finger. We actually got some photos with everyone smiling and looking at the camera! This is truly a miracle since we have an almost 3 year old and a 7 month old. Here's some of my faves...

I have been craftin up a storm but I can't post anything because they are all Christmas gifts and I am not sure who in the family checks out this blog. :) Mainly I am crafting for nieces and nephews and my own kids. I will say that Freezer paper is my new best friend!!!! I want to stencil everything! I wish I had known about it last year. There are tons of tutorials on-line and even instructions on the box of freezer paper. I think in Jan I should decide what I am making people next year and do a project a month. I left way too many projects to the end of the year and hopefully I will get the ones for my own kids done! I plan to have all of the projects I need to mail out done by next sat. so we can mail them. Then I will make Kaden's presents. These are the tutorials/inspirations I will be following for him...

Reversible Superhero cape

Felt jungle

Hobby horse

For Asher I made a:

Ribbon blanket- hopefully he hasn't already outgrown it.

Christmas Giveaway

It ends today!!! 6 amazing gifts including and Ergo! I love my Ergo that I found used and the new ones have even better features so I really want to upgrade. Plus then we would have one for both Matt and I. That would make life easier! Check it out... Click the ad in the sidebar- Ohana Mama Christmas Giveaway.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What a nice long vacation!

Matt just had a week and a half of of work. It was heavenly! I had all kinds of plans...potty train Kaden, reorganize the house, do preschool activities with Kaden, get Kaden to sleep in his big boy bed, sleep in, complete crafts for presents, go to Chuck E Cheese, go to the park, and lots of general playing....
It was a very successful vacation though not quite as successful as that huge list.

success #1
We locked Kaden in his room and now he sleeps in his big boy bed!!! Woohoo. We put a cover on the inside doorknob to his room. The outside doorknob is free so we could get into him quickly he just can't get out. Pretty soon we will take it off too since he seems to be adjusting the bed well. Next step...Asher in his crib in the same room as him.

success #2 Lots of playing
We had great fun on Thanksgiving, and going to Chuck E Cheese, and playing with our main Christmas gift ( a Wii). Yes, we spoiled ourselves and opened the Wii when it came in the mail the day after Thanksgiving. We got Outdoor Challenge from Costco and it is a blast. Kaden loves the jumping games and Matt and I are getting a good workout. This will be the last year we can open presents early since Kaden will know the differencenext year...

success #3 Sleep in
Well we took turns and also took naps. Sleeping in wasn't always possible but we gave each other lots of turns to sleep. We also stayed up too late watching lame movies(all of the funny parts from the Adam Sandler move about Zohan were in the previews) and fun tv shows.

Partial success #1 Reorganize the house
I sorted through most of the boys clothes and got the right sizes in the right places. We cleaned the main living areas and put up Christmas decorations. We still have a lot of organizing to do. I think it will have to wait until our Christmas projects are done since we make a huge mess with those every day.

Partial success #2 Do Preschool activities with Kaden.
We went to our classes and did lots of coloring. He definitely watched less tv. When I had him tell me what shapes to cut out of the snowflake I was making he busted out with "a hexagon." I think that means he is a genius. :) I need to work with him on recognizing letters. I need to do preschool time with him everyday and keep the tv off.

Partial success #3 Complete Christmas crafts
3 down lots more to go. Many are in progress. My goal is to finish and mail them all by the tenth. That will give them more than enough time to get to their destinations.

Failure #1 Potty training Kaden
He is still not really interested. He'll do it if we force it but doesn't come up with it on his own.

So life continues and hopefully I will maintain the cleaning and deepen it a little more each day

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Parenting Rant

That's why I have a blog, right? So I can rant and vent a little. I have not been a parent very long so... maybe I am missing something here, but when did being a child become getting everything you want and more? I read this article and about freaked out with my self-righteousness. :)

Basically some parents have written letters to toy companies asking them to not advertise to kids but instead advertise to parents because it is just sooooo hard to say no to your kids.

a) How do you make a TOY commercial not for kids? Just having the toy in the commercial will make it of interest to kids. I mean, I guess they can focus on all of the educational benefits of the toy and that might be boring for kids?

b) Get a Tivo/DVR or turn your TV off more or both! We just watch DVDs of TV shows or movies. No commercials. That doesn't stop my son from falling in love with everything Cars or Elmo. He is perfectly willing to buy the popcorn with Incredibles on the box over whatever other popcorn is at the store regardless of sizing or price. So, we have the opportunity of teaching him when we go to the store. He's only 2 so he's still learning to deal with the answer no but he hears it a lot. It's good for him.

c) Kids should not get EVERYTHING on their list for Christmas. That's why it's a list of wishes/wants and then Mom and Dad get to SURPRISE you with what you do or don't get.

d) Parents- grow up! You are parents. Christmas is about giving not getting. Christmas is about life lessons- hard ones as well as beautiful ones. Christmas is about Love not money. You teach kids their attitudes about all of these things. You teach them what kind of consumer they will be - smart or stupid.

I am a sucker for toys for my kids. Our house is full to the brim with them. I love buying them new toys. So I get it. But this is real life, folks. Even for Christmas you don't get everything you want. And it isn't the end of the world. I choose to parent my child and I won't go into debt ( or prostitute myself as one parent in the article seemed set on doing) for Christmas because I hope to retire someday and not be a burden on my kids. Maybe we'll even pay for some of their college education. I think eventually they will appreciate that MUCH more. Actually I know they will.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Commissioned Watercolor Portrait GIVEAWAY!!!!

Commissioned Watercolor Portrait GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wow! How cool would it be to have a portrait of my kids! So cool! The giveaway goes through Tuesday check it out!

Menu Review and Meal plan

Loved the Mexican pizzas, Chiang Mai Noodles, and Cashew Chicken. Yummylicious. My one note for the cashew chicken- next time I will not bread it. I do not have amazing breading skills and I prefer my cashew chicken to taste lighter. I used to think that it was too hard to make asian food at home- mostly because of strange ingredients needed. However these recipes were simple and the ingredients were easy to find. We will be eating Asian food at home more often now. :) Yummy!

We will be having...

Hawaiian pizza- pizza dough, spaghetti sauce, mozzerella, deli ham, pineapple chunks.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Dinner out! Date night! We have a coupon for a local Teppan Yaki restaurant

Thanksgiving- I will make a Sweet potato souffle(my favorite side- no marshmellows but lots of butter, brown sugar, and pecans) and Jello salad (Matt's favorite side)

enchilada casserole

Broccoli Beef - since we didn't have it last week.


This takes us through to next Monday. :) So I'm a little off in the planning and reviewing...I'm still doing it at least...

Sunday Insights

My Husband is on vacation this week! Woohoo! I get to appreciate and learn from all of his wonderfulness all week! I am going to put him to work... LOL!

Our goals this week:
Potty Train Kaden (He went pee on his potty 28 times last week and earned 5 matchbox toys)
Get Kaden to sleep in his big boy bed (He took three naps and slept most of one night in his bed last week)

Declutter the house- Even though we moved here a year and a half ago we are not utilizing our space to it's best advantage. And we need to get rid of some stuff. My goal is for each of us to work for an hour a day minimum on the house. Should be able to make inroads into the clutter this way. I cleaned the boys room on Sat. And Matt cleaned in the kitchen. I still need to sort through the boys clothes some more- both of them are changing sizes. Gotta love those neverending chores.

Play lots- Chuck E Cheese, Dinner and a movie, the park, Thanksgiving at my cousins...these are a few things on our list...

Preschool/craft activities with Kaden- coming this week the letter A

Get Family photos taken...Grandparents have requested these. I am hoping my cousin can take some for us.

Finish Christmas presents and shopping- hopefully I can get at least on hour a day in on this one too.

Sleep in! Ok, Matt and I will have to take turns with this one...

Wish me luck! It will be a busy week! But a very fun one!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Insights and Monday Mommy craft

My husband is the best! We have had a crazy few months with sickness, financial stress, job changes... all of the changes have resolved for the best so far. I guess we just needed a little push outside of our comfort zone. We have been seriously blessed over the last few months. I have grown to appreciate my DH even more for the strength that he is to our family. We are his first priority and he makes sure we know it. He has two Daddy's boys on his hands. The first thing Kaden asks for in the morning is to see his Daddy. After a long hard commute and full day at work DH is always ready to play with his boys and do their bedtime routine. He is always ready to give me a break and take over. He also makes time to make sure that I know he loves me. He doesn't complain when I nag him or get grumpy. He does his best to knock me out of my bad mood (and he's not a wuss about it- he will tell me to knock it off when appropriate). He does his best to alleviate my stress and appreciates the work I do in our home. We get better at communicating every day. Recent stresses have helped that too. I am so thankful that his priority is to care for and be with us. I hope that I can be the same example of strength and encouragement for him that he is for me.

I want to be more like my DH:

I want to complain less
I want to play more- this I have been making progress on- Kaden and I have done more craft projects lately and I have been getting on the floor more to play(which gives me more motivation to vacuum and sweep)
I want to do things that I don't want to do without complaining because of my love for my family- (which for me includes much of my responsibilities, well, at least, the house cleaning and diaper changing and potty training half(sometimes these responsibilities seem like more than half)- the playing and making a mess and even cooking dinner half is pretty fun)
I want to work hard at my job- I escape to the internet or watch a show a little toooo often
I want to be creative- this I do pretty well...sometimes too well as my messy house will attest

So I will think twice before I say things.
I will remind myself daily of all of the wonderful things my DH does for our family. It is easy to forget that he is working all day when he is not with us and then I want him to be superman(do the dishes, take out the trash, watch the boys and all at the same time because that's what I think I should be doing all day) in the few hours that he is home. That isn't fair to either of us ( I don't live up to those expectations either). He really is being superman and I need to remember that all the time.
I will keep playing and doing crafts. I started doing "preschool" time with Kaden on Friday. We learned about all things A.
I will start structuring our day more so that there are more routine times(flexibility is still important) for me to get my chores done. If I plan for it, I will do it, and then I will be working harder.
I will keep playing and doing crafts. Creativity makes me happy! I want to create more decorative/functional spaces in our house. This will be a monthly goal and my weekly goal within that monthly goal is: Clean and organize my craft space in the kitchen.

So here is my Mommy Craft! I scrapped a page! I used Pencil Lines sketch 111 to guide me. I Love that site! Excellent inspiration! Mainly, I used A Boy's Playground by Karla Marano. The SHER and the Date circles are from the CT appreciation Kit that numerous CT's recieved. The A is from Karla's Road Rulez alpha.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Meal reviews and menu plan

We had the Apple and Onion Roast Beef on Wed. and Orange Chicken on Thurs. Both were fabulous. My one recommendation for the Orange Chicken would be to butter the top of the chicken half way through baking. I maybe needed to cook it a little longer too because I used a glass pan... The sauce is delicious and would be great on chicken that was grilled or sauted in a skillet without the breading too. We have been eating very well at my house. If it weren't for all of the dishes I wouldn't miss eating out at all since we are getting a good variety of foods in our rotation.

Menu Plan
Fri: Hamburger Helper- Sometimes you just need a mindless cooking night. It's all my DH will cook too so I have them for emergencies. We stocked up the last time that they were a dollar each so dinner tonight cost us all of 2.00 a person (including the beef). Not bad, eh?

Sat: Mexican pizzas
This looks wonderful and easy, of course!

Sun: Chiang Mai Noodles Another new recipe for us but from my new favorite recipe site. :)

Mon: Leftovers or eat out or? My DH is having minor surgery so.... we won't be home all day.

Tues: Cashew Chicken
I love cashew Chicken and from the photos this recipe looks perfect...we'll see. :)

Wed: Oregon Rub Tri-tip We tried this a couple weeks ago and it was yummilicious.

Thurs: Black bean and Chicken Nachos

Fri: Broccoli Beef Guess it is mostly asian week at our house...well we love it so it will work

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Menu Review

Thursday- the Thai Peanut chicken wasn't peanut enough for us. It was ok- had a nice kick to it but the spices were too subtle. If you know of a good Pad Thai or Mussaman Curry recipe - let me know!

Friday- I forgot to post a meal! I was tempted to have Matt pick up Pizza or burgers because it had been a long hard week with everybody sick. But I resisted and threw something quick and easy together. Creamy Chicken Chili Quesadillas. I mixed 1 can each of chicken, mild roasted green chilis, and cream of chicken soup together. I added a dash of Cajun seasoning. I may have added a little sour cream too... I warmed them up on the stove together. I grated cheese onto a tortilla and melted it in the toaster oven. Then I topped it with the chicken mixture and folded it into a quesadilla. It was yummy. Great for the Can Plan method of short term food storage.

Sat-Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas- yummy!!!! Very different from the enchiladas we normally eat. These were a great blend of sweet and spicy. Also they were easy to prepare and didn't have any weird inredients. I don't usually have cream on hand but otherwise I had everything to make these. I used canned chicken for these too. You couldn't tell it was canned at all. (I used two cans and doubled the marinade) I totally recommend this website for finding delicious spicy meals that are super easy to make and use normal ingredients. I feel like a chef after trying two recipes from this site.

Sun- Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin Wow! You have to love garlic but these also are wonderfully spicy and sweet. Only 25 minutes in the oven too! This is easily made in 45 min or less from beginning to end. It's fabulous! Once again the ingredients are ones you are likely to have on hand. SO simple and yet it tastes so fancy!

Monday-Chicken Tikka Masala New favorite for me! Matt worked late so he didn't get any and I have been slowly eating the leftovers all day so I don't think he will get any. This recipe comes the closest to the restaurant version. It is a thousand times better than the canned sauce version. If you crave it like I do try this recipe. It also uses normal ingredients and is very easy to make. I have two other recipes bookmarked to try at this site and I am sure if I keep looking I will find more.

I moved leftover night to tonight. Yay! I am excited for more leftovers! That's always a good sign, right?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Insights

I feel like I need to write a little something about why I voted yes on Prop 8. Here is a quote from another blog that I felt expressed the main issue well:
"In California "Domestic partners" have the same rights and privileges as married couples already. So to say that a couple in a same sex relationship is missing out on the rights that a married couple has is simply not true. They have the same rights to property, visitation and other considerations that are legally given to married couples. So why are they fighting for the right to be married in the public eye?

The only reason I can think of is to be able to force the world to have a legal obligation to accept it as moral behavior. We have seen the ramifications of it in Massachusetts as churches that refuse to give marriage ceremonies to gay couples have lost tax exemption status and the right to be a church when they were sued. etc... Parents have gone to jail for refusing to allow schools to just send home information for kindergartners about what constitutes a family. The story of a king and a king getting married is shared with young children because it is now asked to be acceptable and moral to all of us regardless of our deep religious beliefs.

This is war and now I am in danger of being called a bigot by my friends an family that are fighting for the right for same sex marriage. I love you my friends. I love the good that many of you have and put out there for the world. many of my good friends are highly educated, kind-hearted, service oriented and wonderful human beings that just have a lifestyle I cannot accept as something I want to have to teach my children about as okay and moral."-Ennis crew: we are at war...

I voted yes to keep a separation of Church and State and to preserve my right to discriminate between Marriage and Same Sex Partnerships. Not discriminate against- I believe they should have legal rights- but discriminate meaning differentiate. Yes, I believe Homosexuality to be a sin. Yes, I will teach my children that it is a sin. No, I do not believe that Homosexuals are bad people. No, I do not believe they should be punished by the law or prejudice for their choice.

I am not sure if same sex attraction is a choice or a gene but I do believe that acting on that attraction is a choice. They can remain chaste. It is not an enviable position to be in and I am thankful it has not been my struggle. I cannot fully understand it because of that. I struggle between my wish to respect the commitment and relationship that same sex couples have and my moral opposition to homosexuality. I struggle between my wish to respect and love the person and not condone the homosexual lifestyle. I feel that a differentiation between Marriage and Same Sex Partnerships is a line that has to be drawn in order to keep the law from dictating to me my beliefs. I hope that a balance of respect and love can be found.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Family Crafts

We did two crafts yesterday! Each only took about ten minutes(or less) which was the extent of Kaden's attention span anyway. He enjoyed doing them and enjoys even more seeing his artwork decorating the wall. :)

First we did Salad Spinner art. I've seen this on a few blogs and have been so excited to try it. As long as you use non-toxic, water-soluable paint (your typical crayola), you will not damage your salad spinner. I knew that Kaden would love the spinning. First I traced the shape of the bottom of the inner bowl on a piece of paper and cut it out. I mixed a little poster point with water and helped Kaden use a plastic spork to pout paint on the paper. I didn't get pictures of that part since Kaden needed my help to do it. I was right- he loved spinning and then seeing the image he created.

Spinning as fast as he can get it to go....
The in progress result

I love the final result. I just need to decide how to frame them and where to hang them. :)
Maybe I will make this Mobile with them.

And here is the Turkey that we made. I got the idea and the tutorial at No Time for Flashcards
Kaden enjoyed coloring the plate and gluing on the feathers. It was really simple and fun. I hung it on the wall as part of our fall decorations. :) Such fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Angel Friday

I saw this Blog Carnival on my friends blog and decided to join in. Go here to read about Angel Friday.
Basically you write about Random Acts of Kindness (and the angels who performed them) that you have seen in your life.

Since becoming a Mom I think at least one person a day performs a RAOK for me. For example, one time I was in Target and my son was being particularly fussy. We were in the check out line, so, we didn't have too much longer in the store, but it was one of those "hurry up and wait" life moments where everything takes longer than it should. The lady behind me took out one of those bubble blowers like they give out at weddings and started blowing bubbles for my son. Then she gave me the bubbles to keep as something that I could use to help entertain him in "emergencies" like this one. Something simple, small, useful, and easily portable. It was wonderful and made my day much easier.

Friday Review

It has definitely been an up and down week. Tuesday and Thursday were pretty terrible. But Wednesday was great and today is ok...

Tuesday, Kaden was in full rebellion mode. We went to his class in the morning. I had to take him out of the classroom twice because he wasn't sharing and was throwing a tantrum. He was fine at the rice table and if he could play with toys by himself but he was not into social interaction at all. After class he played on the playground for an hour before we went home. He was great as soon as he got outside and was able to run around. No toys to fight over out there either. He and some other boys were really cute chasing each other around. I bribed him with french fries to leave. So since he was so good at the playground I thought he would be better the rest of the day. He took a nice long nap after his lunch too. But the rest of the afternoon and evening he kept doing the same things over and over that he knows he is not supposed to do- he kept trying to go behind the media center and taking the cushions off of the couch to jump/slide on them. I repeatedly separated him from these activities and he repeatedly went back to doing them. He also tried to sit on Asher a few times. Now, this really wasn't bad behavior on his part- he was really just trying to play with him and he doesn't get that he can't ride Asher's back like he can Mommy and Daddy's. It still scared me though and I probably yelled a few too many times. I needed to distract him more with other activities but Asher had just come down with a cold and was really needy. So I had my hands full and that just made Kaden more jealous and more rambunctious.

Wednesday was MUCH better. I prepared Kaden for Music class by telling him he would be sitting in a circle with other kids and singing. I almost didn't go based on his previous behavior but he wanted to go and I knew we needed the time out of the house. He tried to get into the toys when we first got there and laid on the floor and complained (not a full on tantrum but still annoying) when we told him no. Thankfully by the time everyone got there and class started Kaden settled down and participated. He really seemed to enjoy it. At one point he went up and sat next to the teacher but that was fine because he sat down next to her so everyone else could still see and he was still a part of the circle. I think part of what made a big difference for this class was that Asher was in his car seat instead of the baby carrier. I think that helped him feel like he had me more to himself. He did really well the rest of the day too. He and Asher both took long naps at the same time so I was able to take a nap and do the dishes. It was wonderful. Kaden also volunteered that he needed to go on the potty a few times too. I've laid off on potty training because he just doesn't seem interested in doing it enough... So it was nice to have him decide to do it few times. He earned Candy Corn and a plastic lizard.

Thursday, I was sick all day so we watched movies and played on the laptop all day long. Kaden had a terrible nap- he woke up twice crying- and seems to be coming down with this cold too. It seems to be a short one with only one really bad day. So that helps any way. I was so glad that I had done all of my dishes on Wednesday because I didn't have to worry about them at all yesterday and I don't have a big mess to clean up today. Yay! My plan to do dishes paid off with a day of mostly rest!

Today we are still getting over colds so the TV is on too much. I picked up my cousin's son from school (not feeling good and his family is all at the temple for a cousin's sealing). He took Kaden outside for a bit and I plan to do salad spinner art with them just as soon as I get off of this dang computer. That's next week's goal- limited computer time for me... :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thanks for the encouragement and my weekly menu

Thank you so much for the encouragement and the suggestions. That's why I started this blog- to get encouragement and to hold myself accountable for my goals in a realistic way. I really want this to be a positive place where I can help myself build the home environment that I want. Some days and weeks will be better than others but the important part is to keep trying and to try new things when others aren't working. So thank you for reading and taking the time to comment and give me encouragement. I appreciate it greatly!

Menu review:
The rio pork and bean burritos were excellent as always. I love that cilantro lime dressing!

Dead Man over Worms was the best Halloween dinner! It was so fun and even Kaden would eat it (well the noodles anyway). I made my sister-in-laws recipe for Meatloaf because I didn't have all of the ingredients for Nan's. I would trust Nan's to be delicious too.I made sweet and sour chicken instead of Thai peanut chicken. This is one of our family faves-recipe to follow.

The Tri-tip rub was fantastic! I let it sit in the fridge all morning and cooked it in the crockpot with 1 cup of water for 4 hrs on high. It may have been for 3.5 hours. Anyway it was delish! We will make it again.

Leftovers were yummy

We had Chicken over Rice finally. Yummy. Basically it is 2 cans of cream of Chicken soup, one can of chicken, a little milk and sour cream heated up and poured over rice. (Add sour cream last after the rest has cooked a little. Don't boil it after you add the sour cream- just warm it up). This is wonderful comfort food. Fast and easy too. You can add whatever spices you think your family would like- salt, pepper, season salt, parsley, curry...

Last night we had Potstickers and rice. We get the frozen Ling Ling potstickers(or Gyoza) from Costco.

Tonight we are having the Thai Peanut Chicken from a seasoning package.
Sat: Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin
Sun: Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
Mon: Leftovers
Tues: Chicken Tikka Masala
Wed: Apple and Onion Beef Pot Roast

The Apple and Onion Beef Pot Roast recipe from my Aunt Mary Lee

makes 8 to 10 servings ideal slow cooker: 4- or 5-quart


3-lb. boneless beef roast, cut in half Oil

1 cup water

1 tsp. seasoning salt

1f2 tsp. soy sauce

V2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

% tsp. garlic powder

1 large tart apple, quartered

1 large onion, sliced

2 Tbsp. cornst_rch

2 Tbsp. water

1. Brown roast on all sides in oil in skillet. Place in slow cooker.

2. Add 1 cup water to skillet to loosen browned bits. Pour over roast. 3. Sprinkle with seasoning salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.

4. Top with apple' and onion.

5. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours. 6. Remove roast and onion. Discard apple. Let stand 15 minutes.

7. To make gravy, pour juices from roast into saucepan and simmer until reduced to 2 cups. Combine corn­starch and 2 Tbsp, water until . smooth in small bowl. Stir into beef broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes until thickened.

8. Slice pot roast and serve with gravy.

So we are trying mostly new to us recipes this week...

I am really excited to try the Tikka Masala recipe. I love Indian and that is my favorite dish. If you are ever in Provo or Salt Lake be sure to check out Bombay House.

Here's my Sweet and Sour recipe
> Sweet and Sour Chicken as made by Danielle
> I made it for dinner tonight and it is still good. I got the original
> recipe from a book called "Help, My Apartment has a Kitchen!" but I switched
> it to Chicken from pork and quadrupled the sauce. I usually cook for two- this
> makes enough for probably 4?
> 2 Chicken breast- cut into pieces
> Baby carrots
> Onion (or onion powder)
> Green pepper (optional)
> Pineapple chunks(optional)
> Vegetable oil
> 1 cup water
> 1 cup apple cider vinegar
> 2 TBS and 2tsp teriyaki sauce
> ½ C and 2 TBS Da rk brown sugar
> 1 tsp hot sauce
> 4 TBS Cornstarch
> 1 C cold water
> First cook carrots, green pepper, and onion in oil for about 5 minutes. Take
> out and set aside. You'll want to use a deep sided skillet since you will be
> making a sauce.
> Cook chicken.
> Add the veggies back and all ingredients except the cornstarch and water at the
> end of the list. Stir it up and then let it simmer covered on Medium low for 30
> min. Check periodically to make sure there is enough juice- don't take the lid off. Medium low is key
> for this.
> Stir cornstarch and remaining C of water together- add to pan. Stir while it
> thickens.
> Serve over rice.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday Insights

I am running a day late... gotta work on that.

So my biggest thing that I want to work on this week is playing with my sons and not yelling as much. I have a bit of a temper. It rarely comes out in public. I tend to take it out on my family. Especially when I am tired or hungry or one of any number of excuses. I've been working on it for a long time and I need to continue to work on it/focus on it. My goal is to only yell when I am cheering/happy or in shock or in an emergency or maybe to get my DH to get me a new toilet paper roll. Basically I don't want to yell in anger. There may be times when I need a little scream but there is a way to do it appropriately. I need to take a deep breath when stressed or hurried and not snap. I know I won't be perfect at it- probably ever- but I can be better.

These are the things I need to do to help me:

I need to clean more often so that the mess and clutter don't overwhelm me or make me angry.

I need to plan more activities to do with my sons so they will behave better and we can have more fun together.

I need to go to bed earlier.

I need to turn my computer and the tv off during the day. Well, maybe I can use the computer once or twice but not for more than half an hour at a time.

I need to declutter my house.

So my baby step goals for this week are:

do dishes
have the front room clean when Matt gets home from work
organize the boys room

Use to do preschool time each day. A craft, A song, An activity- spread throughout the day.
Get down on the floor and play animals or cars.
Singing time with Asher each day.
I signed up for two free classes through First Five to do with Kaden. One on Tues and one on Wednesday.
Set up a play date at the park.

Be in bed by 10:30

One movie a day for Kaden.

Declutter 15 minutes everyday in Kitchen and front room.

Ok.... Ready, Set, Go...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday Review

I made my goals for the week in this post.

Potty Training: Still struggling. I am running out of diapers! I try to only use them during naps and at night. I have pull ups for when I don't want to or can't clean up accidents (i.e. at the store). We pretty much stayed home all week so we could train. Kaden wasn't buying it. He used his potty several times about 15 times this week. Which is great but not nearly enough. He has to be half naked for him to realize he needs to go on the potty. Any clothing item on the bottom half and he wets it. So the pull ups really just act as diapers for him. He refuses to do number 2 on the potty. SO the saga continues. He is more motivated to go on the potty when he gets prizes but it doesn't work quite the way I want it to work. And stickers don't work as well. He wants the toys every time or he doesn't really make an effort to go on the potty. Yesterday he just refused so I had him in diaper most of the day. BLAH! Suggestions welcome...

Kids: Kaden went outside for a bit everyday. This was excellent. I didn't stick to the time of my goal but I did get him outside for a little bit everyday. He needs it. I will continue it...

House Cleaning: I think I did dishes everyday at least once. Problem is I probably need to do them at least twice a day now that I am cooking every night. I dislike neverending chores...oh wait...they all are...

Budget: Little did I know we would have huge reasons for this to become a major priority. DH is switching to freelance work so we are going to have to be DILIGENT in keeping to our budget. We have been living without much debt (our car payment is all) but not saving much in the past. Now we will have to save like crazy to make sure we can meet our bills all year long. He has his first freelance position lined up to start the day after his current job ends. That feels good and hopeful for a successful freelance career. He would go back to full time if the right position opens up. If you know of any companies looking for Maya generalists with and emphasis in lighting tell them to check out his site. He has done visual effects for lots of cool commercial and a couple movies. Oh yeah- we did well with this goal. No eating out. No buying toys. We did a little grocery shopping but that's it. Gotta keep it up. I have plans to make Kaden's christmas presents mostly from things we already have - presents I think he will love and will encourage his imagination. :)

Spiritual: Definitely prayed a lot this week. Gotta work on reading.

Creative: No projects for myself but I did a couple with Kaden. We made toilet paper shakers and carved pumpkins.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday's review and Wednesday meal plan and Thursday recipe

Playing catch up, sorry. We've had a crazy few days. My Husband is switching to freelance from his full time position next week. It's a little scary and a little exciting. Our biggest concern is health insurance. There are a lot of freelancers here so there are options- it's just a matter o picking the right one and budgeting for it. This will be an adjustment but I think it is the right direction for now. If you know of anyone in the Visual Effects industry he can connect with- let us know. His portfolio and Resume can be found at ww

Menu Review:

The chili was excellent and even won a prize at our Trunk or Treat/Chili cook off. It is a barebones basic chili which is exactly how DH likes it. He doesn't like kidney beans either so the red beans in this recipe were perfect or his kind of chili.

I made the Pumpkin Gorgonzola pasta. Sadly it was too sophisticated for our tastebuds. I did like it better the second day. I LOVED the mushrooms and onions. I think I will make those more often just because I like them. I am the only one who will eat them but I had no problems eating them all. :) I made some italian sausage on the side to go with this and that went over well. I might be willing to try the pumkin sauce again with a milder cheese like Gouda or Mozzerella. The gorgonzola had to much bite and the pumpkin was too sweet in combo with it. But as I said I liked it better the second day. So maybe I just needed to give it time to blend better. Or maybe I didn't quite follow the recipe right? Anyway. I'm glad we tried it. We needed a fall experiment meal. :) I have tried other recipes from this site, Pots and Pins, that we LOVE. So I will continue trying her recipes and we will sophisticate our palate some more. :)

I forgot to put the pork in the crockpot before we left for church on Sunday so we had a letover night early. We needed it anyway...

Still love the Cafe Rio Pork and Lime Cilantro salad dressing. I have been using the leftover dressing on everything! I put it on angel hair pasta with spinach, grape tomatoes, and parmesan. SOOOO yummy! Love it!

I won hot wing sauce with my chili so I decided to put it to use last night and make Oven Fried chicken. I tried mixing the sauce in with the egg but it didn't flavor the chicken at all. I don't know if I didn't make enough or what... Suggestions? The chicken was good dipped in the wing sauce and cilantro lime dressing. We had salad too.

Meal plan:

Just a few changes to use up leftovers, celebrate halloween... that kind of thing.

Today: rio pork and black bean burritos
Fri: Dead Man on Worms- Pots and Pins winner! She was on Emeril for this recipe. So much fun! She has a photo up on her Halloween party post. Awesome party too!
Sat: Thai Peanut Chicken from Package
Sun: Tri- tip
Mon: Leftovers
Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Chicken


Oven Fried Chicken

2 tbs butter- melt and put in bottom of 9x13 pan
2 large eggs
2 TBS milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp seasoning of choice- I used Creole seasoning- I will probably use more next time- maybe two tsp?
Chicken- I used two large chicken breasts cut into strips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

mix eggs and milk together.

mix flour, cornmeal, and seasoning.

Dip chicken into egg mixture and then into flour mixture then put in the prepared pan.

Halfway through cooking, brush juices from the bottom of the pan on the top of the chicken. Total cooking time 45-50 minutes.

This is the first time I've gotten my chicken to stay breaded! Love it! I would recommend more seasoning as it is very mild.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Mommy craft

So today is my opportunity to show off the crafts that I have been working on. I did finish a scrapbook page and a halloween costume this past week.
Obviously I just did the pants soooo they don't quite match the shirt. I still like them though and they are glow in the dark. :)

I used a template which I think I love! It is Yin Designs template 62. I'm guessing I found it through Ikea Goddess. The kit which I also LOVE is by Karla Marano. Her link is in my sidebar. The kit is called A Boy's Playground. It is great fun! She has a new kit out right now that is all helicopters and airplanes. Another of her recent kits is all about bumps and bruises! So cool!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Insights

My Plan is to review my week on Friday. I will be going over the things I did during the week that worked and those that didn't. I have various goals for myself and habits I want to create. On Fridays I will just lay out there what happened and then I will take two days to think about it. On Sunday I will make new specific goals for the week ahead.

This last week was rough. It started off poorly with a sleepless Asher night and just never righted itself. This is of course my own fault. I let it stay a down week. I have plenty of excuses for why I let it stay that way but the reality is I don't want this next week to be the same. So I will set some goals to change this week. They say writing goals down helps them to happen. My mission president was a firm believer in writing down goals and I trust him. I know it helps me to sort out my thoughts and focus my energies. I tend to get overwhelmed by my messy house so this helps me to refocus my stressed out energy and get the work done that I need to get done.

My Goals for this week:

Potty Training: Institute a potty chart and prizes. Kaden will get a sticker on his chart every time he uses his potty. After 5 times going "#1" he can pick out a prize. After going "#2" once he will get a prize. I will encourage him to use the potty every half hour. He will wear underpants except during his nap and at night. I will not buy anymore diapers!
Exception: Tuesday morning will be off because of a doctor appt. for my DH

Kids: Kaden needs to be outside or do a physical activity everyday. It helps him behave and sleep better. My goal is to have him play in the backyard or at a park every day- weather permitting. Since we are potty training this week we will stick close to home. So this week the goal is to have him outside in the backyard (at the very least) every day from 9-10 am. If we can't go outside then I need to set up a physical activity for him in the house i.e. an obstacle course, jumping on the mattress, dancing, rolling balls (or bowling)...

House Cleaning: I will do dishes every day.

Budget: I will not spend any money this week except on neccesities like Milk. No justifications! We don't need it!

Spiritual: Read scriptures and say prayers everyday.

Creative: I will finish one of my christmas projects and do one Digiscrapping Blog header.

So hear goes... A new week....