Thursday, October 27, 2011

Leaves, Candy, and Ideas.

Fall came to Utah a couple of weeks ago. We took a drive up the canyon, and the trees were ablaze with color!
We hit it perfectly!
Last year we missed the "mother nature show" by a couple of days, and we were disappointed by brown, dried up hideousness.
I swear, in Utah, Fall is one week long, Spring is one week long, Summer is about 7 weeks, and the rest of the 43 weeks in the year belong to Winter.
Sometimes I hate it here.
Except when I see pictures of giant spiders and cockroaches and chiggers than live in other parts of the country.
Those kinds of things DIE! here because of our winters.
Hey man, I am trying to be positive here.

Here are my kids:
My rear end was literally shoved into a bush, up against a tree for this shot.
The things I do...
Jayden took this next shot. Yep. I have my hair in a side braid.
It's a little "polygamist-y" but I don't have to blow it dry with the hairdryer.
Leaves me more time for Pinterest.
 I did a photo shoot the other day. The pictures looked like this:
 And this:
And this:

So I could do some layouts that looked like this:
And this:
See how I can add my own dangling banner thingies? 
I thought I was pretty cool to come up with that. It was, in fact, my only good idea this week. 
The rest of my ideas have been very stupid.
Like the one where I bought two ginormous Costco bags of the good kind of candy for Halloween.
The kind with Twix, and Almond Joy, and Snickers.
(All my favorites!)
Then the idea I had to open the bag.
Then the idea I had that I could trust myself to eat just a couple...
(Every 15 minutes!)
Then the idea I had to step on the scale this morning.
And still talk Sam into taking me out to lunch.
(Let's just say I didn't get a salad)
And to strip all the beds in the house to wash sheets.
(Slave to the laundry room.)
I told you I had a whole butt-load of bad ideas!

But...I have also pinned a lot of good ideas on Pinterest.
Including this quote I found.
I made it pretty, using a free digital kit from Kara Henry.
(Thanks Kara!)
Just like my recipe cards, you can click on this image, save it, and print it as a 4x6 photo for yourself, or a young woman in your life who could use a little wisdom.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!
Don't come to our house.
We are almost out of candy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Forgive my depressing ramblings...

My grandpa Hunt passed away last week.
He was my last grandparent.
I have been in a funk since then.
I have had lots of rambling thoughts about it all.
I think the transition is what has made this passing so hard. Knowing that he is the last of "that generation" in my family and except for some sort of tragedy (knocking on wood) the next funeral Sam and I will attend will be for one of our parents.
And then we will be the ones putting the photos and memories together, writing down life sketches (how much do I really know?) , and trying to maintain some sort of composure, while feeling orphaned.
It sucks.

If I were to wish for an ideal way to die, my grandpa certainly nailed it.
He was kicked back in his favorite recliner, legs extended, ankles crossed, BYU blanket pulled up to his waist, and remote in his hand.
He fell asleep during the game, and woke up in a better place.
I joked that typical of a man, he tried to take that remote with him when he went, but reality is, he took nothing.

We take nothing.

That has been on my mind too.
Everything you work for in this life:  a nice home, nice furnishings, a decent car, a gym-healthy body...
It all gets left behind.
You take your experiences, your education, and relationships: connections you have made.
It all seems so simple, and yet, so easy to forget that it works that way.
What really, truly matters.
You also leave behind a legacy of how you lived your life.

My grandpa was a huge advocate of temple work.
The day before he passed, he did three sessions.
After my grandma passed six years ago, I think the temple work kept him busy, and sane.
He missed her so terribly!
So he immersed himself in service to others, because that is how he was.

A humble school teacher, who loved his Father in Heaven and his family, and his fellow man. In that order.
He and my grandma somehow raised a family of ten children on a schoolteachers salary.
That man taught junior high for 25 years.

I have the pleasure of three junior high aged kids in my home this year.
Three of them.
I have been very close to taking up alcohol.

I am not sure how he did it, being around hormone-riddled kids all day long, but he loved it.
He said he loved the kids.
And that love was reflected in the number of former students who came out of the woodwork when he passed, expressing their love for him.
He touched a lot of lives.

When I think of my grandpa Hunt, I think of patience, and quietly doing the right thing, with no desire for recognition.

He was ready to pass on.
Can you imagine being ready to die?
I am scared...because clearly, I still have some work to do to feel ready to meet my maker.
That has been another thing on my mind.
The legacy I am leaving behind.
What will my family remember me for?

The final gift my grandpa gave me was a new perspective on my own life.
I feel like I have been living in neutral.
Not a bad person, but not a person who is making an effort to be better.
I am pretty content to be sitting on the fence, and happy to be lazy.
I am not saying that tomorrow I am going to be joining up with the Peace Corps, but there are definitely changes that need to be made.
I am ready to make them.
I have people on the other side that I would like to be proud of me when they venture a peek down.
People that need to know that I remember their lives, and want to live like they did.

“What a wonderful thing is death, really, when all is said and done. It is the great reliever. It is a majestic, quiet passing on from this life to another life, a better life. I’m satisfied of that. We go to a place where we will not suffer as we have suffered here, but where we will continue to grow, accumulating knowledge and developing and being useful under the plan of the Almighty made possible through the Atonement of the Son of God”
(President Gordon B. Hinckley at the funeral services for Robert G. Wade, Salt Lake City, Utah, 3 Jan. 1996).

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Recipes

For a long time, cooking something would require me to thumb through a three-foot stack of dog-eared and batter-splattered recipe books, magazine clippings, and printed pages.
I could quickly find the recipes that were in rotation the most, but to try to find my seasonal recipes, or my lesser-used recipes took some time. And frustration. And usually I just gave up, or called my mom or my sister for the recipe.

About two years ago, I started to dabble in creating things digitally in Photo-shop.
I made a simple template for a recipe card.
I have saved the digital file, and now, whenever I try a new recipe, and my family approves of the recipe, I copy and paste the ingredients and cooking directions right into the digital template.
It is sized as a 4x6 photo, so then I can just send that sucker over to Costco to print as a photo, and then slip it into my recipe book.
My "book" is a 100 (double) page photo album.
I got it at Walmart for 2 bucks.
Gone are the recipe books that I kept around for two recipes!
Nice to have everything in one place.

I mention this for two reasons.
One: so you guys will think I am cool. And organized. And awesome.
And two: because occasionally I share recipes on my blog, and I want you to realize that you can right-click on the image, save it, and you too can print it, as a 4x6 photo.

Now, if you feel so inclined, I wanted to also share with you my file that I use to create new recipe cards.
You can download it (for free) here:
When you open it in Photo-shop, you will have the option of changing out the background on the recipe cards. If you need me to walk you through that, just shoot me an e-mail.
I won't think your questions are silly.
I taught myself Photo-shop.
And I am seriously challenged.

Fall is in full swing here.
Our apple tree dropped a load of apples.
I don't mean to brag, but our apple tree has the best tasting apples ever.

It is a Jonathan tree. It didn't used to be.
We have a neighbor that lived kitty-corner from us.
One day they asked us if we would be willing to plant an apple tree in our yard, so it could cross-pollinate with theirs? They brought us the tree.
We planted it.
And then I realized they bought us a Red Delicious apple tree.
Red Delicious apples are the worst.
They are always tasteless and mushy.
I dug that tree out in the middle of the night, and replaced it with our Jonathan.
I felt so the tree our neighbors gave us. I was young.
That neighbor moved.
Now that tree is giant. And NOT a Red Delicious.
So glad I didn't stick with the crap tree.

I have been dehydrating apples, and making apple-y things.

Let it be known, that I strongly dislike cooked fruit of any sort.
But these two recipes I am sharing are not too bad, in spite of the fact that they are cooked apple based.
The first one uses cream cheese.
Honestly, I would eat anything with cream cheese.

And this last one, is in case you have escaped apple season without feeling the need to do something with a bazillion apples...may I present Peanut Butter Fudge. I have shared it before, but not as a recipe card.
It goes well with apples.
Just not Red Delicious.
Also, since this is the first time I have shared a down-loadable file, someone needs to be a guinea pig, download it for me, and let me know if it works on your end.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Here's the punch-line: "Hobby Lobby."

That place is a joke.
I am not sure if you have one in your neck of the woods, but I need to just show you their ad, if you haven't yet had the pleasure.
Can you read that?
Yeah, well neither can anyone else.
I swear. I need reading glasses, and a Red Bull to get through the thing.
I fall asleep after the second text-crammed little box.
But it doesn't end, it does not.
Because the employees and management of my Hobby Lobby leave the whole thing up for their own personal interpretation.

Take for instance the day I went in when "Photo Frames" were all 50% off.
I took a long time picking my frames out.
I took my frames up to the checkout.

Let me interrupt myself here for a minute to explain that, every time I have gone into the store, there has been one checker working, and a line practically back to the fabric. I figure that is on purpose. The line winds itself through all the knick-knacks, and a few things I DO NOT NEED always fall into my damn cart.

So I make it to the holy grail....the cashier, and she starts hand-keying in all of my items.
Some of which, I notice, are not 50% off.
"Hey, Carol" I say, noticing her name-tag, "according to your ad, all of your photo frames are supposed to be 50% off."
"Yes" says Carol, "but this is not a 'photo frame' this is a 'picture frame.'"
And she further explains that a photo frame has an easel on the back of it,while clearly a picture frame does not, and is meant to hang on a wall, and therefore is not 50% off.

She said all this, in that smug tone of voice that you would use on moron.

"Silly me!" I said, "I dun thought 'photo frames' were them things that ya jest stuck yer pitchers in!"
I made Carol call a manager over.

I told him how ridiculous and misleading the ads were, and that it doesn't specify the type of cock-eyed BACKING as a means of dividing "frames" into specific categories.
He gave them all to me for 50% off.
"This time only!" he said. And stormed off.
The next week, the "picture frames" were 50% off anyway.

So, I had been watching the ads for a certain item to go on sale.
And last week it did.
I don't buy many things for scrapbooking, since I have a stash that would make a hoarder blush.
But I wanted these self-adhesive Rhinestones and Pearls.
Remember, I am part squirrel. Shine and sparkle are in my genes.
So the ads rolls out, and I notice that "All Paper Studio Embellishments: 50% off!"
So I hit the store on Monday morning, cause last time they went on sale, all the other squirrels in the valley beat me to the store and cleaned the shelf out.
Here is what they look like:
I brave "the line" again.
With my four packages of bling.
I get to the cashier, and find that she does not ring my bling in for 50% off.
What gives?
I am starting to feel personally targeted.

"Your ad says that all Paper Studio embellishments are 50% off."
"Oh, these? These are not embellishments, these are stickers."

Internets, I feel like I am well-versed in what an "embellishment" is, and I also darn well know what a "sticker" is.
I have been scrapbooking since 1996, when all that we had to choose from was Mrs. Grossmans, Paper Patch, and deco-edged scissors.
Just in case, though, let's check the dictionary, shall we?

em·bel·lish·ment [em-bel-ish-muhnt]  

1. an ornament or decoration.

So Hobby Lobby can kiss my butt.
I brought the manager over again.
He argued, I argued.
He finally caved, even though I have the sneaking suspicion that he remembered me from "Framegate 2011."

Do I feel vindicated?
It is not like I am trying to pull a fast one. 
Or even trying to get something that is NOT supposed to be on sale. I am reading their stupid poorly laid out ad, and playing by their nonsensical rules, and I have never yet had a smooth transaction.
I feel exhausted after every trip.

I will never shop there again!! (shakes fist!)
(See ya tomorrow, you evil squirrel catcher.)

This week should be a good week!
Just look what is on sale! 
And open to all kinds of sales-person interpretation!

Monday, October 03, 2011

I am blaming Walmart.

I know. 
Two posts within 24 hours.

Don't get used to this type of frequent posting, but today I just have to vent.
We just had General Conference weekend.
For my non-LDS friends, every six months, we have "pajama Sunday." (<--my term, not a church term.) It is where our prophet and church leaders broadcast messages, and we watch it on TV.
It is my favorite.
The messages are always inspiring, as is the dress code, and the junk food.

I like to have a project to do, to keep me occupied.
This weekend, I decided to paint the master bedroom.
Sam even volunteered to help, which was a Christmas miracle, in and of itself.
I decided to paint the room the same color I painted our downstairs.
It is a nice neutral brownish/greenish depending on how the light hits it.
It is called Lyndhurst Mushroom:
That doesn't look like the color it is.
I think my computer monitor is jacked.
Anyhoo...I looked up the color number, and went to Lowe's to get the paint chip.
I planned on taking the paint chip to Walmart to get their Kilz paint.
I really like Kilz. It is one coat goodness.

Well the number online didn't correspond to the number in the store, of course, so it took a minute to find, but eventually I did. (Important to note.)

Took it to Walmart.
Well lo and behold! Walmart no longer carries Kilz brand, but replaced it with Glidden.
The little paint guy swears it is the same quality and thick goodness as the Kilz.
It is not.
Definitely not.

But that is not my vent for the day.
I hand him the paint chip. He then proceeds to try to find the paint number on his little machine to match it.
He can't find it.
I told him the numbers had changed and don't match up.
I told him three times.
He was like one of my kids.
Cocky, and no way is he going to listen to me.
He then explains that he can just scan the paint chip and get it "pretty accurate."
"Dude," I say, "I can't do "pretty accurate" because I have some touch-ups to do, and I need it SPOT ON."
"Please try this other number."
"I already looked up this paint, the computer doesn't have it" he said.
I shove the number at him.
He looks it up, and it pulled up. Huge shocker.
So the paint gets mixed up, and I leave happy.
(As a side note, Mikayla asked the paint guy for several stirring sticks, because she thought of "a project.")

The next day, I paint. Sam helps. Our room looks so pretty.
I take my little trimmer cup full of paint, and a brush, and happily go to town on the downstairs level, touching up spots.
Furniture ding! Gone!
Nail hole! Disappears!
Possibly a booger! Goodbye!
I felt like a fairy, swiping my foam wand, and making alllllll the imperfections disappear.
It was better than wiping the walls down. Scrubbing walls is for suckers!

So this morning, this is what I woke up to.
And this:
And more:

Sunday, October 02, 2011


When you ask Mikayla what she wants to be when she grows up, she will tell you she wants to be "a scrapbooker."
Aim high.
I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
And really, she just wants to be crafty like her mama.

She is my constant companion in the studio.
She gets just as excited about new product boxes landing on the porch as I do.
And the girl is creative, I will give her that.

I never, ever want to squelch her desire to create.
That being much crap can one house hold?
Last week, I bought her a box of 1,000 craft sticks.
They were gone in two days:
Also a whole bag of hot glue sticks.
And this bad boy is about four feet tall, in real life:
Is is a bat?
These weren't the only projects she painstakingly crafted.
Oh no.
These were the projects that we couldn't sneak into the trash without being noticed.
Now before you get all "my mom" and "judge-y" on me.
The girl has been cranking out crafts...large-sized crafts, for about six years now.
There is only so much room!
She ran out of wall space in the studio, and started on the ceiling.
There are billions of these streamers!
They are kinda cool, until you are busy crafting one night, minding your own business, at 2am, cause you procrastinated a deadline....and a couple of swirly ceiling streamers spontaneously crash to the floor.
You better not have a full bladder when that happens.
I also want to note, for the record, that this girl went through an entire 500 sheet ream of colored copy paper in six days.
I thought the colored copy paper would be cool to have, to run off some of my own stuff.
500 sheets, that basically went into the trash after they were "used up" by Mikayla making things.
Internets, I am torn.
Here is her bedroom door:
How much weight can a door hold?
How much tape can the paint take?
I am not a picky house-keeper. I believe a house should be lived in. But her bedroom is right off of a main area?
Like I said, I have never remotely discouraged this girl from her projects, and I don't really want to, but I am reaching that point of cracking.
Little messes everywhere.
Constantly being out of supplies.
Having nowhere to store the latest masterpiece.
I am going to have to come to some sort of happy medium. Soon.
This last week was bad.
She discovered toothpicks.
And the apples from our tree in the yard.
She made many hedgehogs, and blow-fishes, and suns.

Yeah, well....try one of these!

I need advice.
And podiatry-atric toothpick removal.