Monday, October 31, 2011

Today I Took My Kids Out to Beg for Candy.

Cat & Mouse 1
(cat & mouse)

Funny thing is, they refused to beg.  They would NOT say "trick or treat."  Though they did say "thank you" occasionally, so that's something.  The merchants in town all pass out candy on Halloween, and the main road is closed.  It's always fun to run around and wave at the people you know and smile at the cute, creative costumes.  Ash noticed and pointed out many "gutchens."  We also have way too much candy now.  Bleh.  I'm just gonna throw it all into the poop prize jar

Cat & Mouse 2
I'm rather glad to see Halloween go.  We certainly made the most of it and my kids got plenty of wear out of their costumes (which is what I wanted).  Last Thursday they wore them for music class.  On Saturday we went to the zoo where the kids were all encouraged to dress up and they even had a trick or treating area where they passed out awesome snacks instead of candy.  That same night we went to a costume party with friends.  And then tonight we did the trick-or-treating thing and then went to a church party afterwards.  Sheesh and whew!

Cat & Mouse 3

Now it's time to pull out the Pilgrim/Native American/Turkey decorations!  Thanksgiving is coming!

Skeleton Mum & Baby
(even the babe in my tum got to dress up!)
P.S.  The girls' hats and tails are from etsy.  Their boots from Payless.  Britt's dress is H&M.  Ash's shirt, sweater, and skirt are all from The Children's Place.  And they get to wear everything except the tails for the next 5 months!  Woohoo!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today I Got a Great Deal.

Have you started your holiday shopping yet?  I have.  I'm all done with everything for Ash and Britt.  Half way done with presents for Tony.  Everybody else is still in the works.   Guess where I scored big today?  Gotta love online shopping.   Bath & Body Works!  They've got a lot of items on sale AND I found two awesome promotion codes!  One of them will knock the $6.99 shipping down to a dollar (if you spend $25+) and the other will take 20% off your order.  You can only use one.  I tried them both and went with the one that had me spending the least (of course).  Sweeeeeet!

The code for $1 shipping is: TRADITIONS25 (may or may not only work today - I'm not sure).

The code for 20% off is: CHARMED20  (I've heard OCT20 works as well).  This one only lasts until the 30th of this month. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today I Made (and ate) Apple Cider Caramel.

Yesterday I tried a recipe for apple cider caramels that I found on Pinterest.  Yay for actually doing what you pin!  But yesterday's batch ended up being apple dip (really delicious dip, I might add).  I didn't get it hot enough.  Today's batch turned out right.  I probably should have cooked it a bit longer at the high heat because it was melt-in-your-mouth soft. 

Yes, WAS. 

I gave most of it away.  Which was very smart.  You should have seen the obscene amount I consumed when I was cutting and wrapping the caramel.  Oh my!  So yummy! 

Here's the recipe: 

Apple Cider Caramels

Recipe from America's Dairy Farmers via Blondie's Cakes

2 cups apple cider

1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, divided

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup real butter, cubed

Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 c. Set aside to cool.

Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1" hanging over the edges for easy removal. Coat with a bit of vegetable oil.

In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider.

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and the corn syrup. Measure 1/3 cup whipping cream and add enough water to reach the 1/2 cup line on the measuring cup and add that to the sugar and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees F.

Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees F.

Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Cut and wrap as desired. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I didn't even think to take pictures (bad blogger!), so I had to borrow from the gal who posted the recipe first (that I know of). 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today I Started Working on My Advent Calendar Again.

Did you read this post from last year?  Haha.  I've been working on this Pottery Barn Kids style Christmas Calendar for 3 years now.  I'm not so good at big, time-consuming projects, I guess.  But this year I swear I am even MORE determined!  Hahaha.  Somebody, please, hold me accountable.

I should have just done something like this:

I think I will still do the Christmas Book Countdown.  It's just too cool.

Do you have a way to keep track of how many days until Christmas?  

Guess what? 

Christmas is only 60 days away!

I told that to my mom and she said, "How would you like to die?"  Hahahaha!  Christmas is almost never a peaceful event when you have 20+ kids to shop for (including grand kids), I'm assuming.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Today I Just Want to Share Our Pumpkin Patch Pictures.

On Saturday we went to Maris Farms in Buckley.  If you're even slightly local, you must take a trip out there!  Sooooo much fun!  Even in the drizzling rain.  They have a pumpkin patch, hay ride, corn maze, playground, monster truck rides, corn shooting, pumpkin blasting, pig racing, petting zoo, pony rides, and more!  Next time we will not be buying our pumpkins there.  I got back to our home town grocery store to find out I could have bought twice as many pumpkins for the same money we spent on pumpkins at the farm.
Oh well.  Will remember that next year.  It was fun. 

Except for one incident.  A very short one that made me very angry.  When we were at the playground and Britt was climbing through a tunnel, this other kid (I'm guessing 4 or 5 years of age) entered on the other side.  He acted like he was being friendly with Britt until he got to her.  Then he started crawling over and on top of her.  I told him to stop and back up.  He kept going.  I yelled at him, that she was just a baby and that he could not crawl on top of her because he would hurt her, and he acted like I was speaking Latin.  I had to jump into the dumb tunnel (with my big belly, wearing a skirt) and pull Britt out from underneath of him, as his boots were getting scary close to her face.  Oh my gosh, I was soooo mad!  I've never disliked a little kid so much in my life and you'd better bet I gave his mother the evil eye when she came up right behind me, after we got out of the tunnel, with her camera and said, "smile!" to her kid.  Obviously, every child has their moments but most decent kids I know listen when adults tell them to do something (especially if it's not an adult they are comfortable with).  I keep telling myself that he could very well have been autistic, because then his behavior would have been completely normal and excusable.  And if he is autistic, then I feel bad for reacting so angrily.

In the Web
(in the big spider web at the playground)

At first I didn't think this outing would be fun because it was raining off and on, but then I thought about where we live and how much we'd miss out on if I started shunning the rain.  I also thought about how much I loved the rain as a kid and never minded being outside while it was pouring.  My children are no different.  Besides, they've got cute, new raincoats!  The moisture did do a nasty number on my hair though. 

 Corn Maze

The girls were free, so entrance was cheap.  There were several activities that were included with the ticket price and several that were extra cost.  We're trying to be frugal right now, but if we weren't, I SO would have bought the girls a pony ride!  And I wish that I had at least brought some cash with me because even though the face painting was free, a tip is sort of expected. 

With the Goats

The girls absolutely adooooored the animals.  Britt didn't want to leave the barn and tried to go back in when we passed it by later that day.  The corn maze was very muddy and, in my opinion, dull.  But Ash enjoyed telling us which way to go and must have a gps in her brain because we didn't take a wrong turn once.  We opted for the 15 minute path (instead of the 45 minute) and got through it in half the time!  The only incident was when Britt slipped in the mud and got her hand all muddy.  I didn't have anything to wipe her off with except the little brochure thing they gave us at the beginning of the maze.  Poor baby. 

Irritated Britt
(hahaha!  such a grumpy little face because she had a muddy hand)

The hay ride (pulled behind a tractor) was a very slow trip all around the pumpkin patch.  The girls were really quite hesitant at first and Ash said she didn't want to do it, but once it got going, they warmed up.  Too bad the driver kept telling lame jokes.  Hahah!  At least he admitted it by asking for courtesy laughs right off the bat. 

Ash in the Maze
(our little corn maze leader)

All in all, a great trip.  We all enjoyed ourselves (except for a brief mama bear episode) and my babies took naps on the way back home.  I'm thinking of a train ride next weekend, but we'll see.  I've got a jam-packed schedule this week (I don't tend to like having every square in the calendar filled but that's just how it turned out), so I may just want a lazy Saturday morning by the end of it.  I am 6 months pregnant after all and the stretching belly pains get worse the more I'm on my feet (my mom said they also get worse with each pregnancy). 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Today I Was in a Bad Mood.

Nothin' like a bad mood to taint a whole day.

So here are some more pictures from a couple Sundays ago to help cheer me up.  :)


Holding Hands


Ash loves playing with her aunts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today I Discussed Frankenstein.

We had our book club tonight.  I think the general consensus was that Frankenstein was an idiot, despite all his knowledge and learning.  I enjoyed reading the book simply because of the rich vocabulary and it was a very different story.  Unlike anything I've ever read.  I'm not going to go into detail because I don't want to spoil it for those of you who have yet to read about Frankenstein and his monster.  I will say that I couldn't, at any point in the book, sympathize with the monster.  He's awful.

I did all the snacks for our meeting.  Here they are.  Since Frankenstein used actual body parts from dead people, I went with that, though gross and disgusting.

(cupcake brains.  would have looked better if the cupcakes were larger and rounder on top.)

(alfredo intestines.)

(bone biscuits.)

(toes aka lil smokies wrapped in tortilla strips with mustard and ketchup nails.)

Have you read Frankenstein?  If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Today I (Again) Wondered What "Gutchen" Means.

I still don't know exactly what a "gutchen" is.  I'm not exactly sure when Ash started using the word.  4 or 5 days ago when we were walking to our door in the dark, she was initially lagging behind but then started running to catch up and yelling, "Mama!  Mama!  A gutchen!"  I was thinking, "Okaaaay."  Then, day before yesterday, she saw one of Tony's vampire books on the sofa.  Yes, my husband read (and enjoyed) the Twilight series, has read other vampire themed books since then and watches Vampire Diaries.  Don't ask.  I have no idea. 

(here's the cover so you can see what she saw.  source.)

She pointed to the girl on the cover and said, "She's a gutchen, Mama."  I asked, "She is?"  Ash said, "Yes."

Later that same day, Ash was watching Beauty and the Beast (her absolute favorite).  At the part where the Beast is upset with Belle for entering the West Wing, Ash said, "Mama, the Beast is a gutchen."  "The Beast is a gutchen?" I asked, making sure I was hearing right.  Ash said, "Yes." 
I asked everyone I could think of if they'd ever heard of a gutchen and what they thought she might be saying.  No one has any idea.  My mom thinks Ash has just made up another word, like "Gabby" for Tinkerbell (she does use the correct name for that fairy now).

My best guess is that a gutchen is something with a mean or scary face/intention - like a monster.

Today I was hanging up these little jack-o-lantern doilies I made back in '07.

When I was done, I stepped back and said, "There.  All done.  Aren't they pretty?" 

Ash said, "Pretty gutchens."


I guess that as long as she doesn't call me a gutchen, it's all good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today I Cuddled My Poor Baby While She Sucked Her Fingers.

I wonder if Britt is growing (doesn't that make kids more klutzy?).  It seems like she has been falling down or running into things all day.  She's been so accident prone the past few weeks and today was the worst.  She won't stop climbing up on top of everything and at lunch she fell over with her chair.  She bumped her forehead, bit her lip, and got her chubby knees stuck in between the slats of the chair (bruised them too).  She cried for a long time and wouldn't let me put her down for a good 15 minutes.  Nana made her a bottle for comfort, which Britt held in her arms.  But she just preferred sucking her fingers.  Tony really doesn't like that she does that.  I love it.  It's so cute and it calms her down so quickly.  And unlike a binky, she can't lose her fingers nor do they cost anything.  She's always got her fingers in her mouth.  And it's always the right hand, never the left. 

This is the earliest picture I have of Britt sucking her fingers (and the only one where it's her left hand because she switched shortly after).  She's 3.5 months here.

Britt & Her Adorable Fingers 3

Here are some adorable pictures I caught of her, with her beloved fingers, a couple Sundays ago.

Britt & Her Adorable Fingers 1

Britt & Her Adorable Fingers 2

Think it'll ruin her teeth?  If she takes after her daddy, it won't.  He sucked the same fingers for years as a child and his teeth are fine.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today I Said, "Let Them Eat Cake...Let EVERYONE Eat Cake!"

I made candy corn cake wedges.  They're delicious.  And time consuming.  Lots of frosting involved.  But, oh-so-cute when finished!  The cake recipe is awesome!  It's all from scratch and tastes like a buttery pineapple upside down cake, without the fruit.  You must try it! 

If you really don't have the time to make sweet, little, individually frosted candy corn cakes, you can always  do my other version.  Besides the original recipe I made a "feed the masses" cake too.   Same great cake and yummy frosting, but with a lot less time involved.  It's just the cake recipe doubled (I've written it out so you don't have to think) and the frosting recipe was puh-lenty!  Waaaay too much frosting for just the wedges.  But I wasn't about to waste it!  So more cake had to be made.

Feed the Masses Candy Corn Cake


  • Cake:
  • 1 cup plus 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • Frosting:
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • Yellow and orange food coloring
  • Orange sprinkles, optional


  • 1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch cake pan (or not, if you're lazy like me).
  • 2. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Lower mixer speed; beat in half of flour mixture. Beat in milk mixture, then remaining flour mixture. Increase mixer speed to medium-high; beat just until smooth.
  • 3. Scrape batter into pan; smooth top. Bake until cake is golden brown and starts to look crispy on around the edges, about 35 minutes. Cool cake completely (this is the most difficult part for me).
  • 4. Make frosting: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat shortening, butter and vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of the milk after 3 cups, then the rest after the remaining 3 cups; beat until frosting is fluffy.
  • 5. Color frosting if you wish, or leave white.  Frost cake.  Sprinkle candy corn on top.   
  • 6. Chill until serving because the frosting is soft.
  • 7. Make sure you share, because this stuff is good enough to eat by yourself.  And that wouldn't be very good for your waistline.

And that's it!  Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today I Went Shopping.

I was all over the place today.  Why?  Two reasons.  Halloween costumes and filters.

Ross turned out a new pair of shoes for Tony.  Unplanned but needed.

Lands End was where I found rain coats for the girls (a fall/winter necessity around here).  A happy 50% off find. 

(got this pink one for ash.  source.)

(got this purple one for britt.  source.)

Next, we perused Marshalls and found some black patent leather mary janes for Ash to wear to church.  I'm soooo grateful we came across them too!  They were a great price and poor Ash has been wearing too small shoes every Sunday for weeks. 

Fred Meyer had all the air purifier filters we needed (the girls have one in their room and we have one in ours and we run them at night).  Boy did we ever need them!!  My allergies have been getting worse and worse over the past two months.  It never occurred to me until last night that a dirty filter might be the problem.  I've had ever increasingly terrible asthma the past three or four days.  I'd wake up wheezing and having a really hard time getting a breath.  I don't really like using the inhaler while pregnant but I kept having to use it to get through the night.  Last night, I believe I had a prompting, it came to my mind that I should turn off my air purifier.  I did, but it was hard to sleep without that noise that has been the background to my dreams for over three years now.  After turning it off, my allergies and wheezing gradually subsided.  Mystery solved!  Air purifiers are NOT cheap but breathing at night is more important. 

At Payless I found boots for the girls.  This is actually for their costumes (and then for the rest of the cold season to follow).  So at least I found something I meant to find.

(they each got a pair of the same kind.  source.)

JCPenney, Gap Kids, Macys, Hanna Andersson, and Nordstrom were all a big waste of time (except for the much needed exercise I got from walking around the mall).  I'm looking for a black, chunky knit cardigan for Ash and NO ONE has anything like that!  **frustrated**

I went into Janie & Jack and found some possible birthday dresses for Ash (she'll be 3 in a month).  Obviously she only needs one party dress, but I had them hold three different dresses so I can figure it out tomorrow. 

(why does it look like "choices" is spelled wrong?  anyways, aren't they all so cute???  how will i ever decide?  source.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Today I Hung Frames.

I have had these frames for over a year now.  I spray painted these thrift store finds before Britt was born.  I don't exactly know why I never hung them up.  I guess I was looking for more frames since five just didn't seem enough.  But they've been collecting dust and taking up space for too long.  I decided to put them on the small wall (that shares a window) in the girls' room.  I'm pleased with how they look, though I still want to add more.  I also wish I could've hung them lower, but then Ash would definitely take the opportunity to knock them down.  Little stinker.  She's done that before!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today I Backed Up My Blog.

I got the heads up about the importance of backing up my blog at Funky Junk Interiors (instructions too).  It's pretty easy and since there's always the chance that your blog email could get hacked, having your precious blog (that you've put so much time and effort into) backed up makes sense. 

Oh, and that Apple Pie Chex Mix I told you about?  Skip it.  I made this Halloween Chex Mix and it's far superior.  Yum!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today I Did Some Deep Cleaning.

It occurred to me that I'm going to be having a baby in a little over three months (duh, I know) and won't be able to do much besides feed her and make sure Ash and Britt don't get into too much trouble. 

That means I have to get my house completely clean and organized now.  So I started with the girls' room.  Under their beds and in the hidden crevices of their cribs was disgusting.   And the dust had me sneezing and wheezing like crazy.  The girls' toy boxes were outrageous.  Their room is the smallest and the least work.  Which is why I chose it first.  :)

I may not have anything super exciting to blog about this week because I fully intend to go through this living space like a whirlwind.  As whirlwind-y as a big, pregnant girl can be! 

On a different topic, I tried a chex mix recipe for the first time ever today.  It was Apple Pie and pretty good.  A tad overly sweet, but the upside of that is you can't eat too much. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today I Celebrated Columbus Day.

This may be a controversial post.  It depends on where you get your information, I think.  It may be totally meaningless or completely meaningful, based on where you are located.  It will probably sound argumentative.  That's because it is.  My sister and I have been going back and forth, on Facebook, with a friend and the friend of a friend about whether Columbus was an evil, cruel, wicked man or a good, upright, brave man who changed history (for the better) with his choices.

These are the thoughts I put on Facebook and since it IS Columbus Day here in the USA, I thought I'd share with you too. 

(the columbus monument in barcelona, spain.  stock photo.)

It is my belief and opinion that God had a hand in the discovery (rediscovery, if you will) of this American continent and in the establishment of the US. To bring this about He inspired and guided men (despite all their faults and the less than upright cultures from which they came) to lay the groundwork and make it happen.

I see no reason to be upset with Columbus, the conquistadors, or other such “invaders.” They weren’t doing anything different than what the indigenous peoples had been doing to each other for centuries (though, I have yet to read anything about Columbus personally causing violence to anyone). The Europeans were simply more advanced and civilized. There is no reason to be mad at them because they were better at playing the game. Why hold them up to our standards? Their lives, rules, way of doing things were nothing like ours. We weren’t there to show them a “better way”. To condemn them is completely unfair. Given the governments and rulers they had to work with, I’d say they did a pretty good job. Makes me wonder if our descendants will read about us (or re-write the history books on us) and think we were barbaric and loathsome.

Columbus and others like him were the ones who made it possible for the United States of America to be born. They literally paved the way. The Vikings and Maoris may have got there first, but that point is moot since they didn’t have the culture to make something of a new world. They didn’t send settlers, pilgrims or the like. While some of us may have Viking, or Native American heritage, most of us have European, African, or Spanish ancestors to thank for getting us here. Like it or not, Columbus is part of that.

If we read the journals of Columbus (and those of his contemporaries), we find that it was Columbus’ faith that was his primary motive. He believed that he was guided by God. I believe it too. The histories that I have read show him to be kind, courageous, daring, honest, pious, self-taught, and stubborn. I’d call these good characteristics and worth emulating.

Why scoff that he thought he had hit the Indies? He had no idea there was a whole other continent between him and Asia. Again, it makes no sense to hold anyone of that age to our standards and knowledge. You can thank Columbus that you don’t currently think there is only ocean between the west coast of Europe and the east Coast of Asia.

I haven’t been able to find anything about genocide or abuse (perhaps those stories were written more recently?). I did read about natives attacking and killing the men that Columbus had left behind at La Navidad. For a quick, interesting and slightly disturbing look at the types of people the Europeans met when they got to the Americas, see Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. I suggest using a filter like Clearplay though, since it is very graphic!

(close up of part of the columbus monument. stock photo.)

As to Columbus being sent back to Spain in chains, that unfortunate happening was due to the jealousy of the governor of the new colony. It was humiliating for Columbus and completely unjust. When he did get back to Spain, it was clear the charges were false and he was immediately released.

It would seem that even though Columbus is long gone, there are still false accusations being brought against him (though, for what purpose I do not know). After reading his journals and writings, it is clear to me that he was a man who knew God and stayed close to Him.

If anyone would like to know more about Columbus, I’d suggest going to the source (after all, would you like to be the one to tell your story, or would you like strangers or your enemies to paint it how they want it told?). Book of Prophecies was put together by Columbus with the help of Father Gaspar Gorrico. Excellent insights. Other good resources are The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by His Son Ferdinand, The Worlds of Christopher Columbus, by William and Carla Phillips and Columbus, and Don Quixote of the Seas, by Jacob Wassermann. For kids I highly recommend, Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire.

The discovery of Columbus opened doors and windows for countless people. Others had tried to get to the Indies as Columbus had attempted and never got far enough to find land. I believe that the choices of even one individual can have worldwide effects. What if Columbus hadn’t discovered America? Where would you be? London? Sweden? Africa? South America? What would your life be like? What if Columbus’ discovery was the only way the Pilgrims could eventually leave England and gain religious freedom? What if our ideas of freedom only could have come about the in ways they did? That would mean that Columbus was a vital part of the lifestyle we all love and adore. One person can change the lives of countless people. What if Eve never ate that fruit? What if Noah never got on the Ark? What if Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin never fought for their rights (and the rights of others)? What if Mother Theresa decided to sit at home and live a comfy life? What if Hitler had never been born (negative examples work too)? What if Bill Gates believed those who told him it couldn’t be done? What if Martin Luther King, Jr. never spoke up and out? What if Galileo allowed the Catholic Church to decide what he could or could not believe/study/teach? What if Queen Elizabeth I had been the typical woman of her day?

Obviously, I’m coming at this with not only what I’ve learned from history books (not the popular ideas of my time), but also my religious beliefs. And since the Book of Mormon (which I have found to be true) states this about Columbus, “[Nephi] looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land,” I believe God moved Columbus because He had a purpose in making this land known to the Europeans. Columbus was obedient and courageous in that he followed the direction and guidance he received from Heavenly Father and set out for the Indies. This is why I celebrate Columbus Day, and why I will always encourage my family and friends to do the same.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Today I Ripped One of my Magazines to Shreds.

It's a good thing.

I do this to all of my magazines.  Some get torn up more than others. 

See, I pull out the pages I want to save, throw them into a big pile and then file them in my binder, based on what category I've assigned them.  I've got pages for kid's crafts, recipes, hair styles, make up tips, date night ideas, gift ideas, etc. 

I've done this for at least 6 years.  My husband thinks I'm a weirdo in this regard.  He might be right. 

The magazine I ripped up today was my Parenting Early Years October issue. 

Lots of good stuff.

If you've got kids that are school age, you can get the Parenting School Years Magazine for only $6.99!  I've got a serious magazine addiction.  So, if I had school age kids, I'd be all over this one. 

This deal only lasts until tomorrow (10/8/11 at 11:59pm MST) and is for US residents only.  I wish I'd gotten around to telling y'all about this earlier, but better late than never, right?

Click here if you're interested! 

What magazines do you subscribe to/enjoy reading/recommend?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Today I Made Frankencakes.

My friend Amy told me that her book club is reading Frankenstein this month and that got me all excited!  Last October our book club read Dracula and taking on Frankenstein this year would be perfect!  We had so much fun with Dracula (even though it was a weird book).  We even had a vampire party

I decided to kick it off by making cute, little Frankencakes to give to book club members once they had loaded Frankenstein on their Kindles. 

I broke down and bought a cake mix and jar of frosting (wish someone would come up with a healthier version of this stuff). 

(yeah.  sorry.  lost my normal camera again.  my cell is a better phone than it is a camera.)

I put almost 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract into the vanilla frosting.  Yum!  The cake was devil's food.  The hair was made by dipping the head into purple sprinkles.  The eyes are chocolate chips.  The screws/nails are tootsie rolls.  The mouths and scars were created with decorator frosting.  Fun, cute, and easy!  And they tasted great too! 

Can't wait to surprise my girls with these monster cupcakes tomorrow.  Sometimes it's fun to just have a treat for no special reason, you know?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Today I Put a Cat Hat on my Kid.

So.  Halloween.  

Do you celebrate it? 

Are you against it?

My mother feels very strongly about this holiday.  She's completely opposed to letting her kids "beg for candy" and hates all the overly scary and disgusting costumes and decor that often go along with Halloween.  She usually hosts some type of costume party with some other families that feel the same as her.

(cute, vintage-looking craft.  source.)

I, so far, have encouraged Ash (and Britt this year) to trick or treat.  I would hand out candy if we didn't live so far off the road.  I love seeing all the different costumes.  We just go do the merchant trick or treat open house in town and it's a lot of fun.  I love all the vintage Halloween decor that is popular right now.  But, I love just about any type of vintage decor. 

I totally agree with my mom's views on how far off base the gore and fright factor has been taken.  Hallowe'en was originally a children's holiday and I think we should give it back to the kids.  The blood and guts and scary stuff is not generally something most little kids enjoy.  The happy jack-o-lanterns, candy corn, cute and creative costumes, bobbing for apples, lollipop ghosts, and corn mazes are what I look forward to when Halloween rolls around.

How about you?

About the cat hat - I just ordered hats and tails from a wonderful seller on etsy (I heart etsy sooooo stinkin' much!!!).  Ash is gonna be a cat and Britt will be a mouse.

(sally powell is soooo super talented.  photo source.)

This ovely artisan made the mouse hat at my request and it turned out beautifully.  The cat one did too of course.  I tried the cat hat on Ash this afternoon (while Britt was napping) and I about died from the cute!  Now I just have to figure out the costume part and then we'll be set.

What Halloweenie things are you doing or planning now that it's October?

Oh and I don't know about you guys but Halloween festivities are just starting up in my part of the country.  In Utah, it's been going on since mid September!!!  I could NOT believe it!  The haunted houses, woods, hospitals, etc have been open for two weeks already and so many people had already decorated their houses!  They must REALLY like Halloween down there.  **laugh** 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Today I Made Tacos.

And I didn't even know that it's National Taco Day. 


I made sloppy joe tacos.

Hamburger cooked.  Manwich sauce added.  Cumin added.  Mixture thrown into taco shells with shredded salad in the bottom.  Toppings on (duh) top.  

Super easy.

Ash ate the whole thing.  Which is unheard of. 

Britt threw most of hers on the floor.  Also weird. 

I feel like my kids switched personalities on our trip.

Ash is being loud, tantrum-y, argumentative and stubborn.

Britt is being happy, smiley, laid-back, and easy to please. 

What is going on?!?!? 

They are both also talking a lot more. Which is mentally exhausting for me but I still love it.  I have been giggling a lot today.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Today I Rode in a Car Forever to Return Home.

We’re back. I’m exhausted. The girls went to bed and fell asleep without a single fight. Our little trip was nice. It didn’t start out so great though.

We made the mistake of starting our drive at night. Pulled the kids out of bed, thinking they’d go back to sleep and then miss most of the journey there. Boy, were we wrong! They were awake for the better part of the night from 9pm-3am. Britt screamed for at least 4 of those hours. I wanted to throw myself from the moving car in frustration. We stopped and turned her seat around and that seemed to help immensely. Maybe it worked because she couldn’t see me anymore or maybe because it was darker. Her screaming stint didn’t last much longer after that. Hallelujah! The experts are recommending that you leave kids rear facing longer now anyways. We left her like that the entire trip. It does make me nervous, to have kids rear facing though, because you can’t see them when they’re eating and would have no idea if they are choking.

Sleeping Beauty
(sleeping beauty)

The girls were amazing on the trip back. Good as gold. And Ash got out with me at every potty stop and used the toilet like a big girl. Success! We won’t mention how she waited too long to get to the potty, when we were at my grandparents house, and peed on Grandma’s rug.

Our visit in Utah was nice. A little too hot for my liking, but enjoyable nonetheless. First we stayed with Tony’s grandparents for two nights and then with mine for three nights. We had a ton of fun. Tony’s grandpa took us down to Fairview where their ancestors settled the town in the 1850’s. It was neat to hear all the stories that Grandpa B. takes such obvious pride and joy in. He took us to the museum, the cemetery, and all the houses that are meaningful. It was cool to get to know a bit more about the heritage my girls have inherited.

Ash & Britt in Fairview
(had to blur on the last names, for obvious reasons)

We got to see my brother, his wife and their fat baby. Even though it’s only been a month since we saw them, their kid is even bigger!

I also got to see my sister, her husband, and their four kids.  It was my first time seeing her youngest!  Oh, hello little sweetness!  I just love tiny babies.  My niece is about 4 months and as dolly as they come.  It's so funny to me how you can take two biological sisters (with the same two parents), who are somewhat different physically anyways, and then we each marry two very different guys and our kids look nothing alike!  Hahahaha!  It makes me smile.  Different features, but all so deliciously adorable.  That's the thing about genetics.  You just never know how it's all gonna come out.  I thought my kids would have super dark hair, like me, and even Britt's is gradually lightening....

I was able to sit and chat with my friend Kari, whom I hadn’t seen for 6 years, so that was a ton of fun. I got to meet her youngest kiddos and see her oldest (who was just an infant when I left Utah to go on my mission) again. I had such a good time talking with her. She’s a mile a minute, so lively, and hilarious too. Seriously, one of us needs to move. We both need to be in Utah or both be in Washington or something.

We went to our mission reunion on Friday. We got to hang out and have dinner with several of the people who went to serve in Houston, Texas around the same time we were there. It was good to see Ashley again and finally meet her adorable daughter! Yet another reason to keep my fingers crossed for Tony to get accepted to BYU.

The icing on the cake definitely was staying with my grandparents for three days. I love them. They are so young at heart and love to play. They are in their early 70s, know how to have a good time, and I wish we could see them more. I’m totally jealous of all my cousins who live so close to them and are always just dropping by to talk and laugh with them, or play a couple of card games.

No matter where you go, vacations are so hard to leave behind. Reality is not appealing at all right now!

(ash was so thrilled to see an "elephant."  this was at the fairview museum.)