Monday, November 30, 2009

32 things at 32

Since it's my birthday thought I'd share some things about myself....
1. I hate socks in bed. (Regan tries to sneak in with them.) I just can't stand socks in bed. Can't explain it, just HATE it.
2. I love avocados. I'd eat one every day if I could.
3. I am not a morning person. I wish I was. But I'm NOT.
4. I always shower in the dark in the morning (see #3)
5. I have been on a crafting kick lately. Made 3 things for my home and other crafts too.
6. I have a hard fast rule I've always lived by. No Christmas until after my birthday. December 1st starts Christmas. But this year I broke down and started listening to Christmas music the beginning of this week. And I even decorated a bit already.
7. I am taking cheer leading pictures for the University Cheer leading team tonight. Totally new experience for me. We'll see how it goes!
8. I'd love to book some more weddings to shoot with my brother Sean. I always have so much fun with him when we do them.
9. I love games. One of my very favorites is Bunko.
10. I have an insanely messy van. Like I'm always trying to open and close it fast so no one sees how messy it is. It's embarrassing!
11. I love cooking for people.
12. I even love cooking for big groups. I've always wanted to try my hand at catering for some big event.
13. I dream about my one day kitchen. White bead board cupboards. Full standing freezer next to a full standing fridge. (it is a dream!)
14. I have three sister in laws that live far away. And I wish all of them lived closer.
15. I don't see my family as much as I thought I would when we moved to Southern Alberta.
16. I "follow" a lot of blogs. Seriously. Lots. But you can just check one screen to see all the updates and it cuts out a lot of time.
17. I love the tv show Lie to Me and the Mentalist.
18. My new favorite thing is to rent movies on iTunes and watch them on my computer. Then I never get late fees.
19. Speaking of late fees I am horrible at getting back books to the library on time.
20. I really have a hard time buying pants. Either they come down way to low (and don't cover my baby leftovers) or they are way to short and are floods. It's a big problem.
21. A couple posts back I posted a list of questions where I said my favorite color was orange. It's not. I missed that question when I copied and pasted it. My real favorite color is green. Martha Stewart green.
22. I am going to sew Lucy a dress for Christmas. I already have the fabric and the pattern.
23. I am making mostly homemade presents this year. And I am SUPER excited about the one I found to make for my SIL....... :)
24. I am already stressed thinking about what to buy Reg for Christmas. He is absolutely the hardest person to buy stuff for. He wants nothing.
25. One of my favorite heroes is Nelson Mandella. I think he is an amazing man. I loved his autobiography.
26. I want a Cricut.
27. Our printer is on the fritz and it kinda drives me batty.
28. I love having blog followers. I know lots of people look at my blog (i have a counter thing that shows a map and the numbers and where the look, etc) and I think it'd be ever cooler to have lots of followers on there. But at the same time that'd be a little nerve wracking.... what if I write lame stuff. (like #19)
29. We watched Transformers 2 last night. It was like an ad for Megan Fox and a car commercial. And seriously if you were running in the dessert from a huge Decepticon WHY would you be holding has while you ran? That's gonna speed you up for sure....
30. I often worry that I am not worthy of the amazing life I have. Someone day someone is gonna realize I snuck in here and kick me out.
31. I love love love love love Micheal Buble's music. A lot.
32. Sometimes when people ask how old I am, my first response is still to say I am twenty five and...... I'm NOT

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Download Day

I made this last week for myself and thought I would share it.
I love having a menu plan. I am better prepared when it is 500pm and Eli is acting like he is going to die if he doesn't eat soon. I added in snacks too since I need to think ahead about planning healthy snacks.


Same deal as last download.
You can download it from flickr or you can download it by going to 4shared and downloading it by clicking on the image below. .


Thursday, November 26, 2009


What a sweet boy he is.
I had parent teacher interview tonight and his teacher told me he is such a joy to have in the classroom. I am around the classroom enough to see him flourishing. He is loving grade one. And I am grateful. He is participating and learning. I am just so proud. He is excelling at math and reading above his grade level. He is a very obedient, conscientious student. He is a kind, gentle, goofy boy. I love him tons. And I am so proud of him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grief is like a wave

Grief is like a wave.
An ever changing wave.
In the beginning it is the constant push and pull of loss you feel.
Constant reminders around you of what could have been,
remember when she said this...
remember when we went there...
A tall, strong, constant wave that is always around.
You get used to the consistency of the ache
the hole that is left
but still
at the same time you can't believe that it happened.
That it's your loss.

Over time the wave changes.
It's there, but you don't notice the noise of it everyday.
When you stop and think about it you always know.
If you are still and listen you can still hear the constant wave.

A wave can catch you off guard.
You see someone who walks like them, Who has hair the same color
Or something in their mannerisms remind you
sometimes you can't even really put your finger on it.
A song or smell instantly taking you somewhere you weren't expecting to go right then
But there you are, caught up in the wave

It can be a soft wave, a calm remembrance of moments you shared.
But sometimes it's a strong over powering wave.
One that knocks you over.
You are blindsided by the strength of it.
It surprises you.
Not that it's there, cause it's always there.
But that it was so strong.
And you are left with raw ache that seems so fresh
so new, so tender.

Last night I was remembering my little sister Kelly.
And it caught me off guard.
I was ill prepared for the emotions that came.
From a simple statement someone else made about the sister relationship they see between their daughters.
Smack it hit me.
Right where it hurts.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Honestly Creative Life with Kristi

Hey there! This is Kristi and I normally blog over at Visible Voice. But today I am lucky to be able to share some love here on Rhonda's blog! So fun!
So when Rhonda asked me if I'd like to do a guest post I was racking my brain as to what I should do. I was really wanting to have trick you all into thinking I'm super cool. (That's just the kinda stuff one should admit once in awhile. It's good for the soul.) And I've been wanting to take on this awesome art technique that I've seen in blog land. So I was all like "Oh yeah that's the one! That's gonna make for good coolness factor!"

So I did it and was impressed with myself for attempting it was a total artistic FLOP.

But I decided that in blog land we often only show our best face and our most perfect creations and I thought for a change I'd share my mistake! Because life isn't perfect and sometimes artistic ventures may not work out the way you like. But I like to embrace these sort of things.

I saw this idea first here.

And the technique is called Photo Transfer. If you haven't heard of it before you essentially can transfer photos, or text or anything that you can print to paper onto something canvas. If you HAVE heard of it before....please email me. Remember...this project was a flop.!

Then I did a search and I found this fab ladies blog and found out how to do the technique this way and this is what I based this project off of.

So here's what I used to do this:

A painting that my cute kid did.

Some text that I printed out on my ink jet printer.

Some Gel Medium. (I found this at Michael's on my last trip out to the real world. Did I mention that I live in isolation? Yeah that's a whole other post kids...that's a whole other post.)

And a cute kid. Hi cute kid!

One of these isn't necessary for you to do this project...however it may also not be a choice you get to make.

Oh and a supply of stickers for the cute kid helps as well. Have 'atter buddy!

Now that the kid is taken care of the next step is to take some of the Gel Medium and just spread it all over your canvas.

I started with a thin coat but I think you need to not be super generous but not be super cheap either. Clear as mud right? Thought so.

Next lay your print out - ink side down - on top of your Gel Medium covered canvas.

Just go ahead and pretend there is a photo of me doing this right here.

Then you need to smooth out the bubbles. Now it's probably best to use a brayer rollie pollie thingy but I forgot to buy one of those and since it's a hop skip and a -hour and a half plane- ride to the stores I opted for my pampered chef stone scraper.

It really wasn't that successful. This is when I started to get nervous. This is when the fact that this just may not work out started to creep in.

Once you've smoothed out the paper, let it dry for about an hour.

Then you have to do something super weird.

You have to wet it. You should use a spray bottle or something along those lines. But I like to do things wrong so I used a wet dish cloth.

Then you have to rub away the paper and as you rub it off the ink will stay on your Canvas.

And what will be left is the ink, transparent on top of what you've created underneath.

Okay did you see one of the major flops in this design? Look again....

"i love you" is backwards. Worst part is...I thought of this...went to print it out so that it would work out it...and thought no no I did it right.

Yeah...dumb blonde moment.

Next thing that went wrong is that some of the text rubbed off and the color didn't pop out much because I couldn't rub the paper off properly. And then some of the Gel Medium needs to be cut off the edges.

Moral of the just wasn't what I expected.

But with this "flop" I did some research and found a "fix" and a method that would work if you so wish to try this. I think it will be way better!!

And it comes in video form! Yay!

Because does has a fun effect and looks super cool! You must go see Promise Tangman's blog and Lil Blue Boo's blog to see what I mean.

Sometimes it's fun to just think outside of the box and try something a little bit different. Be sure to watch on my blog....because someday.....someday I may get it right. Maybe........but I did another one last night and it turned out worse. But that was before I found the above youtube video! We shall see my next try someday!

Thanks so much Rhonda for having me. It was super fun to share my mistake with you all!

Happy creating....or flopping...whatev's!

Friday, November 20, 2009


by my friend Connie.
1. Where is your mobile phone? purse
2. Your hair? up
3. Your mother? just left
4. Your father? also just left
5. Your fave food? avocados
6. Your dream last night? my sleep was way to interrupted for that!
7. Your fave drink? milk
8. Your dream/goal? happiness
9. What room are you in? living room
10. Your hobby? scrapbooking, baking, photography, sewing, crafts....
11. Your fear? dissapointing loved ones
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? settled
13. Where you were last night? home
14. Something that you aren't? complacent
15. Muffins? cranberry-zucchinni
16. Wish List Item? cricut
17. Where did you grow up? HillSpring
18. Last thing you did? kids bedtime
19. What are you wearing? jeans
20. Your TV? off
21. Your Pets? NO thank you
22. Friends? miss some of tem
23. Your Life? good
24. Your Mood? content
25. Missing Someone? always
26. Vehicle? mini van
27. Something your not wearing? socks
28. Your fave store? consignment
29. Your fave colour? orange
30. Last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? couple days ago
32. Your best friend? Reg-o-rama
33. One place that you go to over and over? the kitchen
34. One person who emails regularly? Heather
35. Fave place to eat? depends on the day

um I tag you if you want to :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In the Kitchen: Banana Carmel Cake

Last March I made this cake for a Book Club I was hosting at my house. It was scrump-diddly-umsious. And they told me to email them the recipe. And I never got around to it (sometimes I'm LIKE that unfortunately) I just made it again this past week. And I thought I'd finally post it and send it along to all those lovely Book club ladies who I miss and wish I could attend. Instead maybe they can eat my cake :) A little late. But better than never. Try it. I promise you'll love it!

(from the Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger & Robert Steinberg)
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 canola oil
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 ounces semi sweet chocolate chopped into chip sized chunks
1 1/2 diced ripe bananas (about 2)

1/2 cup firmly packed lightly brown sugar
2 Tbsp whole milk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into chunks

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 12-cup (10 inch) Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda.
In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and almond. Mix on medium speed til combined well, stopping to scrape the sides if needed. Mix in the dry ingredients, about 1/2 at a time, stopping to scrap the bowl if necessary.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in pecans and chocolate. Carefully fold in the bananas; do not over mix.

Pour into the prepared pan/ Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, about 5 minutes before the cake is done, combine the brown sugar, milk, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally as the butter and sugar melt. Once it is amber in color, remove from the heat.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately, using a long skewer, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Pour the hot caramel over the top, poking more holes and pushing the cake slightly away from the sides of the pan as necessary to allow the caramel to soak into the cake's top and sides. Place on a cooling rack to cool slightly.

When the cake has cooled, but is still warm to touch, unmold to a serving platter.

Serve either warm or at room temperature.

**Don't add more bananas as it will make it a gummy cake.**
And I added a chocolate ganache on top just for a little extra va-va-va-voom.

MSBH Challenge: 33(Baking Powder Biscuits) 34 (Parker house Rolls) 35 (Cranberry Zucchini Muffins


And there is a new family up on my photo blog if you wanna see them.
A lovely neighbor I have.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In the Craftroom: Christmas Bingo

All over the net lately I've been seeing projects that are made inspired by stores that are expensive. So I thought I'd put my touch on these types of projects. This cute game is from Anthropologie. Amazing store. Not so cheap.
Here is my take on this cute Christmas game.

My version.
christmas bingo cards 1

Best part is I made it so you can download it and play with your kids and family too!
Just cause I love ya! There are six cards (two on each page) and then the key.
Two ways to download it.
If you have a flickr account just open them and download the largest size.
If you don't then you can try these, Click on them and they should take you to another screen where it says download these.

Download them and print them onto cardstock and cut them out.

Let me know if you download it and how it works for you!!
I'd love to hear if anyone uses it :)

There are a TON of things on Anthropologie. I would love love love to get!
But not in the budget.
So I think I'll be doing a bit more of this knock off thing.
Next up something a little more challenging.....either a shirt or a necklace!

Monday, November 16, 2009

His favorite things as of late

are totally the phone and goldfish.
He cries and cries and cries to talk on (even though he doesn't really talk)The only reason he would EVER hand over a phone is cause it doesn't really work. One day I let him "talk" on it to my mom and after he cried for 10 minutes about it. Like LOUD crying. It was nuts-o! So he doesn't ever get the phone anymore!
We saved our old phones when we got new ones for him to play with cause it's more real.... but I should have saved the charger so it would still beep. I didn't think of that til AFTER I took out the garbage. And there are some things I'm just NOT willing to do for my kids. One being digging thru the garbage bin.
HE loooooves goldfish. Almost un-healthily. Seriously loves them.
Sorry I got distracted by those cute little toes....
what was I talking about.... right his current love affair with goldfish.

Also loves playing peek-a-boo

And if you ask him something he does this like "i don't know"

I've decided he should be a baby model. He's just so cute. But they'd probably fire him since he'll never sit still. These took a LOT of work :) Hence the phone and the goldfish so he'd sit still!! I wanted to try out my new reflector and he was the only kid home at the time. I think he did pretty good :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Peek Post

You can find me over here for a guest blog post today of a peek into my scrapbook room. Come check it out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Bits

Today I am so very very grateful for all those who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy. We watched the CBC ceremony today. And I cried. I am so grateful to live in such a wonderful place. Thankful to those who fought, those who gave their lives, and those who are left behind mourning the loss.

Tanya and Colin asked Have you made them with whole wheat flour? Yes. But only do it half and half whole wheat. They don't rise well with full ww flour.

M and J Smith Family asked Where did you get your rolling pin donut cutter combo? My mom originally got it when we owned the cracker barrel cafe, a small time cafe in Hill Spring. I am pretty sure she got it from a Restaurant/ Bakery supply store. If you live in the big city (like you do Jodi) I am sure there are lots of those kinds of stores to choose from!

Mindy asked What's your baking challenge? I am making every recipe in the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook in one year. You can read more about it in this post.

I read over this Nei Nei post. (If you don't read Nei Nei, turn your life around and start doing it!) It has been on my mind for the past few days. It is a beautiful post. Heart wrenching but also uplifting at the same time.

And a photo from the latest photo blog post.


Something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
I like to create.
It's a big part of me.
I grew up with it. And now my kids are too. I think just today Alden and Lucy both made about 5-6 different drawings. When we empty a box or container the first thing Alden says is "I know let's make a craft."
It is a big part of me.
I'm doing what I love in a life I love.
When I don't find time to do things that are creative I have a harder time being happy. A harder time focusing on my blessings. And playing with my kids.
That's why I like baking, cooking, scrapbooking, painting, quilting, drawing, writing, graphic design, card making, sewing, and lots of other things.
All of these things are creative to me.

President Uchtdorf (who gave the talk) said, “The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.” He then went on to quote President Brigham Young who stated, “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.” (General Relief Society Conference, Oct. 2008).

Saturday, November 07, 2009

In the kitchen: Donuts

Now my momma (and my grandma and me) are all those kind of bakers. You know those ones who don't exactly know the amounts of things that are put in. It's more about how the dough feels and all that. But I'll do my best in posting amounts! :)

Now this is also a BIG recipe. It makes 10 dozen donuts. So you can use it to make donuts, long johns, cinnamon buns, dinner buns, or scones. Or you can cut it in half (which I do often!)

2 liters of warm water (like warm like the bath warm)
1 pound melted margarine (or use 2 cups oil)
8 eggs
3 Tbsp Salt
3 Tbsp instant yeast (quick rising)
2 cup sugar
Flour (? a lot hahahaha)

Put your water and salt in a large bowl and stir to let the salt dissolve.
And set it aside.
In a different bowl mix the eggs and sugar until frosty.
Combine into the biggest bowl. Add 1/2 of the melted margarine (or oil).
Stir well.
Start adding flour until it gets hard to stir with a spoon. Like it isn't dry yet... but it looks lumpy with flour (does that make sense?) It's sloppy and super sticky.
Sprinkle yeast on top and stir it in.
Now start adding flour until the dough comes together and you can handle it. Knead it a bit with your hands. (If you are using a Bosch or a kitchen-aid it will start to pull away from the sides.) It should be a nice clean dough that you poke your hand into and it just leaves a dent that pops back out. (make sense?)
Turn the dough over so the smooth side is on the top. Then pour the rest of the margarine (or oil) over top and grease the sides of the bowl with it too.
Let rise in a warm spot until doubled.
Punch down once.
Let rise in a warm spot again.
Once doubled again use it.

Now to make it into donuts, you lay the dough out onto the counter squishing it with your hands until is in a rectangle shape (like you would for cinnamon buns) then cut out your donuts (I have a rolling pin that is a donut cutter outer. So I lay my dough out and then roll it over it and it cuts out constant donuts. It's cool. And it was my mom's. It takes me like 3 minutes to cut out 80 donuts (which is what I did this morning.)

Deep fry them in hot oil (I always use the stove but you could use a deep fryer).
Then drain them.
As soon as you can touch them without burning your hands, drop them into a glaze. (my glaze is just icing sugar with vanilla and some warm water til it is runny. I have no idea the amounts..... just til it looks right. hahahaha)
Then let them drain again.
Then eat them. :)

The more often you make this dough the easier it will be. It's a bit second nature to me as I used to make this dough weekly to make buns and whatever else. I did it on baking mondays. It sounds like a lot of work but it's really not.


MSBH Challenge 25 (Banana Carmel Cake), 26 (Tart Dough), 27 (Lemon Curd), 28 (Pate A Choux), 29 (Cream puffs), 30 (Chocolate Eclairs), 31 (Vanilla Whipped Cream), 32 (Pastry Cream).

Hmm that's a lot of stuff...... but a lot of them went together. As in the lemon curd and tart became a french lemon tart. The Pate A Choux is the dough that starts cream puffs and chocolate eclairs and the vanilla whipped cream and pastry cream fill them.

And a funny side note to all this baking? I've lost a little weight lately. hahahaha. Kind of ironic eh?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Did you know


that this little girl got up twice last night and 4 times the night before? Her reasons? My blankets were too fuzzy, my room was too dark, it was too noisy in my room, it was too quiet in my room, just to name a few.

that this little girl said to her brother a couple days ago "but Alden, I just like to talk from the time I get up til the time I go to bed!!" (soooo the truth!)

that this little girl's preschool teacher told me she was ready for kindergarten in the fall, that she is the kind of student that a teacher dreams about because she is helpful, obedient and kind to everyone.

that this little girl is getting quite tall and thin.

that this little girl recently started saying things like "but am I going to be the prettiest girl there?" (not sure why this started and I'm not such a fan of it!)

that this little girl has matching eyes to her baby brother.

Looks like the donut recipe is wanted! I'll be sure to post it this week. Along with an update on my MSBH Challenge! Tomorrow I am attempting to make homemade cream puffs and chocolate eclairs for a baby shower.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween Traditions

We had super Alden, a cute little bumblebee and princess Lucy.
I sewed Alden some shorts (isn't it strange how Super Hero's always wear their underwear on the outside?), a mask thing and his cape from last year's Christmas.
Lucy was wearing the crown and dress from her birthday.
And Eli is wearing a little hand-me down costume.

Tradition #1: Did you notice what they are holding? When I was a kid we ALWAYS used our pillowcases for trick or treating. So I decided to take that tradition (or maybe it was just easier for my mom?!?) and make it our own. So I sewed them some Halloween pillow cases. For a few days leading up to Halloween they can use them on their pillows and then take them off for the Trick or Treating :) I was given a whole whack of Halloweeny fabric a couple years ago and never got around to making them. (I'm not really a Halloween quilt kind a girl) Finally did it this past week. It was SUPER easy! Like if you can sew a straight line you could do it. Perhaps I'll make a tutorial for pillow cases.

Tradition #2: Donuts
My mom often handed out donuts on Halloween. I always thought it was interesting as she HATES Halloween. But she often made homemade donuts. (She had donuts days where she'd make them for the Elementary - JR high school we went to too). She is done with all that. I'm made them many times but haven't done it on Halloween to hand out. So I did it this year (but only gave them out to people we knew!) I've been asked to share the recipe so I will this week!