Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

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Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

My most favorite dessert ever is chocolate chip cookies! And this is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have ever found! My mom made these all the time when I was little and I would get sick from stealing too many spoonfuls of cookie dough! YUM!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c shortening (I use butter flavored)
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 c flour (make sure the flour is not packed! I usually stir it up to loosen it and then scoop it out with a measuring cup. If you use too much flour the cookies won't be as moist, and if you don't use enough they'll be flat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz. chocolate chips (I always use milk chocolate!)

Cream together shortening, both sugars and vanilla. Then stir in eggs. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Combine with first ingredients and add chocolate chips.
Drop 1 inch balls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Big boy toys

I've mulled over what to get my husband for birthdays. I just have to keep my ears open for the whole year and remember or write down things that he says he would like to have. One of those things that is so totally impractical (and I'm a practical gift giver) is toys. Most guys like remote controlled toys, like airplanes, cars, helicopters, etc. I don't know how much they cost... Also, gokart riding is another winner with my husband. Tools is another one. I eventually want to get my husband another bike since his favorite one was stolen about 2 days after we moved to Minnesota. We just can't afford that one yet. What is his favorite sport? A new baseball glove, racketball racket, golf?? Guys are so much less complicated than girls. My experience is that they are easily pleased with "fun" stuff.

Lemon Bars

1/2 c. butter
1 1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. powdered sugar

- Mix and pat into a 9x13 pan - bake at 350 degrees for 12 min.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
4 T. flour
4 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon rind (I don't add this unless I have it)
1 t. baking powder

Mix and pour over crust right out of oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


I'm such a LIAR!

Can you guess my lie?

1. I had a tumor the size of a softball
2. I was on the David Letterman Show
3. I made my own wedding cake
4. I played with the National Women's Lacrosse team
5. Surprise! I'm pregnant! I'm due October 25th!!! (ok, that's obviously false)
6. I've flown a plane

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

I like this recipe because these cookies actually have a lot of flavor. Sometimes, when I make sugar cookies, the icing is the only thing with any taste, but not with these! These are really easy to handle if you let them sit in the fridge for a while.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
½ tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups flour

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg yolk. When smooth, add flour until well combined. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerated 8 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/3 at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Bake 7-10 minutes or until just barely golden. You don’t want the edges browned or they will be crispy, not soft.
5. Leave cookies on sheets for a minute, then transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting. Keep covered.

Makes 4 dozen cookies


Husband Help

I am stumped. My husband is having a birthday soon and I have no idea what to get him. Why are men so hard to shop for? Every year when I ask him what he wants he always tell me the necessities...socks, collared shirts, etc. We are still on a student budget so I can't do anything 2 round trip tickets to Italy. He'd like that right? I need help. Any suggestions? How do you shop for men?


Okay, ladies. I saw that I was tagged right before I went to bed on Friday night and laid awake forever trying to think of these...

1. I went 3 months without flushing the toilet.
2. I've been skinny dipping in the Mediterranean.
3. I dated an NBA basketball player.
4. I tried out for American Idol.
5. I willingly ate cat food.


Roast and Salsa Chicken

I love my crock pot. For some reason it's so much easier to throw some things into the pot sometime in the morning or early afternoon (or nap time!!) and have it be ready by the time my husband comes home then it is to try and cook something the hour before he comes home. In that hour it seems like the kids are trying everything they can to make getting dinner cooked a nightmare! And I also love crock pot meals when we have the late church time because it's ready right when you get home.
Anyway... here are a couple easy things I make in my crock pot.


Beef roast (I usually use Round or Chuck and for my family I get about 3lbs)
1 envelope dry Lipton onion soup mix
Potatoes- chopped into big chunks (I usually use about 3)
Onion- chopped into big chunks (I only use one)
About a cup of water or a whole can of Coke

Put roast in crock pot. Put potatoes and onions around/on top of the roast. Sprinkle soup mix on top of roast and then pour in water or coke. Cook on low for at least 6 hours (or high for at 3-4 hours). Cut up (or spoon out) and serve. Put the potatoes and onions in a bowl and have as a side dish.
When I do this in the morning I just use water and let it cook for 6-8 hours on low. But sometimes I'll do it the night before and use the coke and let it cook overnight and all day on low. The longer it cooks the more tender it will be and the coke makes it even more tender. And I've been told that the caffeine cooks out. So for tender roast- low for 6-8 hours. For super tender roast- overnight with the coke! Yum! It sounds weird, but I promise you can't taste the coke!

OK and this is the easiest thing I make!

Salsa Chicken:

Put as much chicken as you want into a crock pot. Pour a jar (or just enough to cover the chicken) of salsa over the chicken. Cook on high for about 4 hours or low for about 6 hours. Serve over rice! EASY!



1. I am NOT missing a kidney, but my husband is! When he was in 8th grade he was at football practice and when he was hit, he had a terrible pain, when they took him in they found that one of his kidneys was totally non-functional. It was the size of a grapefruit so they took it out. But I am missing my gall-bladder! That was taken out 2 weeks after my second child was born :)

2. I have never been out of the United States. Boring huh! I have been to a lot of the states, but I am still dreaming for my prince (aka my hubby) to take me away! We are actually saving to go to Portugal and Spain to pick up his brother from his mission, (he is in Madrid and my hubby went to Portugal on his mission)!!

3. I play the French Horn- I do, I do! I love it! I was actually the Drum Major (the one that leads the marching band) and I was sad that I couldn't do that and play my french horn too because I missed playing! I wish I had the time to still play!

4. I was suspended for 3 days in Middle School- I was sad no one picked this! I was actually suspended and worked in the class with the handicapped children. I didn't even do anything! I was a witness to a girl depantsing (where you pull down someone's pants, but not very far) during our all girls P.E. class. Since I was standing there, the girl thought I was in on the plot and her dad pressed charges. We had to hire a lawyer and the girl that did it had to have a probation officer! It was totally crazy! Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

5. I went to BYU when I was 8. I should have said attended to make this one more outrageous! My dad went back to school when I was young and for one summer our whole family (I am the youngest of 5) stayed in the dorms at BYU while my dad took classes! My mom is a teacher so she didn't have to work, and we made a lot of trips back to Idaho Falls where we lived so my brother could play baseball but I actually took "classes" at the university. They had classes for the kids! I made some life long friends, and it was really fun to ride my bike all over campus- I knew my way around better than my dad!

So, that is my boring life, don't laugh too hard at the lack of entertaining things!
I tag: Shalee

Amazing Apricot Chicken

This recipe is so easy and so good.

Amazing Apricot Chicken

8 boneless chicken breasts
1 (8 oz.) bottle Russian salad dressing
1 cup apricot jam
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

Place chicken in a greased 9X13 baking pan. Combine dressing, jam, and onion soup mix and pour over chicken. Bake uncovered at 350 for an hour. Makes 8 servings.

Cream Cheese Chicken

I have posted this recipe before but I think it's worth it. Darian could not stop talking about how good it was and the kids wanted the leftovers for breakfast instead of cereal.

Cream Cheese Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup water

Cook these ingredients for 4 hours on low in your crock pot.
Then add:
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 can Cream of Chicken soup

Cook one more hour on low or until sauce is bubbly. If sauce is too thick add more water!Serve over Rice, Mashed Potatoes, or Noodles


I remember this recipe from when I was little. It's fun for kids to dress up with toppings.

3 # pork loin roast
1 # raw pinto beans
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
4-7 oz diced green chili
3 tsp salt

1. Soak beans in water overnight.
2. Place all ingredients in crock pot. Add enough water to cover beans and cook on low 6 hours, or till meat falls apart. Add water as needed.
3. Remove meat from pan, shred and discard any fat. Put meat back into pan and cook without a lid for 1 more hour.
4. Serve hot with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, olives, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.

Serves 8-10

I tag....

Sorry, in all my madness at divulging my secrets, I forgot to tag someone...



Time to Fess Up

Okay, don't get mad, I know it is a little early to be revealing my secrets, but I am anxiously awaiting my new little niece to be born, and could be out of town any second. So, I thought I would hurry and do this now, while I have a moment. Oh, and it has been like 3 days since there's been any action on my post....

Here goes:
1 - I HAVE sat on the prophet's lap. When I was 6, my family lived in Jerusalem while my dad taught at the BYU center. President Hunter came to speak and we got to eat and talk with him. Since I was so little, he patted his leg, and told me to get right up and sit on his lap for a minute. He was so sweet, I will never forget that, even though I was only 6. He was in a wheel chair at the time, but still so loving and caring and full of life!

2 - I have been put under 5 times. Two for accidents involving my shoulder dislocation, once for surgery on the shoulder, once for mouth surgery, and once last fall when I had my gall bladder taken out. I know, I sound like I'm falling apart! And I'm only 25... geeesh

3 - You were all right, RUNNING is NOT my thang. Okay, let me explain. When I run, I curse every step, I LOATHE it, I can't stand it, and it takes every ounce of determination I have to keep going to make it worth my time. BUT, when I get home, I LOVE the way my body feels. Running is the best cardio for me, because I have to push myself, and that is exactly why I hate it. So, when I get home I usually tell myself, I'm never doing that again.... until a few days later when I say "I should go running, it is such a nice morning..." Please, somebody help me! I think I'm going crazy.

Swimming laps, or doing a kickboxing class, is much more my cup of tea when it comes to excersize... that's if I actually encourage myself enough to GO do it. Most days, working out involves running around my house chasing a two year old, cleaning, and eating lots of sweets (it's a serious jaw workout).

4 - I DID win an award at a half-time show. Are you all laughing at me? You will be in just a moment... read on, this is good. My friends and I decided to take a trip to San Diego for Spring Break freshman year of college. Of course we also wanted to follow our beloved Aggies to the NCAA championship. So, the night of the game, we got there EARLY, got seats RIGHT in the front and enjoyed the game. Until this man walks over to me and my friend and says "we need a little help with our halftime show, do you want to help out?" Of course I said "No way - sorry" But my sweet friend said "I think you should do it Kara, it would be fun..." I am a wuss (sp? - I don't think I've ever written that word before) when it comes to peer pressure. So I did it. I had to dribble a basketball to the free throw line, back, half court, back, the other free throw line, back, then shoot, and make a basket all before another girl did. So, as I'm dribbling away, feeling pretty good about myself (the other girl must have been peer pressured too), because I was winning, and on the home stretch, I suddenly tripped, flat on my face, lost the ball, and thought I was going to die. Well, I didn't die, someone from the sidelines chucked me my ball, and I shot it, and it went in and I won the award - dadaDA! A 250$ watch. Lame, huh? I was so bugged, I put myself through 5 minutes of complete shame and embarassment for a watch that didn't even fit. I think I ended up trying to pawn it, but no one would take it, so I gave it to my mom - she still wears it, with pride.

So folks - that's me! Please don't ridicule my pathetic life. I can't wait to tell Will my stories of my wild and roudy days of basketball... and college.

I love crock pot meals!

I was excited to see that the "ingredient" of the week is crock pot meals. They are so great, and so easy! I have so many crock pot recipes that I love. I will put some of my favorites.

Shredded French Dip

3 lb boneless beef chuck roast
1 can French onion soup
1 can beef consomme
1 can beef broth (all cans 10 1/2 oz)
1 tsp beef bouillon granules
8-10 French or Italian rolls, split
shredded parmesan (or any kind of cheese you like)

1. Halve the roast and place it in slow cooker. Combine the soup, comsomme, broth and bouillon; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
2. Remove meat and shred with 2 forks. Serve on rolls.
This is not only sooo good, but super easy. Also, Rob and I love cheese, so we split the rolls, put shredded cheese on them, and broiled them for about 45 seconds. (For those of you who are nervous about broil, just try it once, and keep an eye on it until the cheese is melted to your liking. Also, use the leftover juice in the crock pot for your dipping sauce. So good!

Cherry Delight

21-oz can cherry pie filling (I would 1 1/2 this)
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1/2 c butter, melted
1/3 c walnuts, optional

Place pie filling in greased slow cooker
2. Combine dry cake mix and butter (mixture will be crumbly). Sprinkle over filling. Sprinkle with walnuts.
3. Cover and cook on low 4 hours, or high for 2 hours.
4. Allow to cool, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

Desserts in the crock pot are delish!

Country Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

8 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 lb fully-cooked ham, cubed
1 oz pkg dry country-style gravy mix
10 3/4 oz can cream mushroom soup
2 c water
2 c shredded cheddar cheese

1. Combine potatoes, onion, and ham in lightly greased slow cooker
2. Combine gravy mix, mushroom soup, and water. whisk until combined. Pour over potatoes.
3. Cover. Cook on low 7-9 hours or high 3-4 hours
4. Top with cheese during last 30 minutes of cooking.

Hope you like them! These are so easy and yummy!


Bye Bye Binky!

I am a big believer in pacifiers! In fact, I don't know how I would live without them! I've never had a baby "not take" a binky, my problem comes when they are about 2 and I'm ready to take the binky away!
We tried for months with my oldest to convince him he didn't need it. He was never convinced and it wasn't until after he was about 3 that the binky finally "disappeared". With my daughter we decided to be a little more creative and we came up with the "binky fairy". Every night that Mayli went to bed without her binky she would get a treat under her pillow from the binky fairy. This seemed to work perfect. But now I have another binky lover and though he's not 2 yet I thought it would be a good tricks of the trade question to ask all of you how you've weaned your kids off a pacifier or their thumb!! You can't just take away a child's thumb so what do with a thumb sucker?

FHE Lesson Ideas

So I don't know if this website/blog has been talked about on here before or not. But I just found a link to this blog from my Husbands friends family's blog (could you follow that). Its It is organized so you can find ideas according to your kids age.


How Well Do You Know Me?

Let's see who knows me best....

1. I have sat on a Latter Day Saint Prophet's lap
2. I've been put under 5 times
3. I am an avid runner or as Shelly would say, Running feeds my soul!
4. I once won an award at a Utah State NCAA basketball half-time show

Good luck! I had a really hard time coming up with interesting facts about myself... I'm a pretty ordinary, boring, person... so I hope you aren't disappointed!

My lie?

I am sorry it has taken me so long- my computer has been down but here I am:
1. I am missing a kidney.
2. I have never been out of the United States.
3. I play the French Horn
4. I was suspended for 3 days in Middle School
5. I went to BYU when I was 8.

The Truth about Shelly

1. False--I had my wisdom teeth surgically removed when I was 13 to make room for more dental work. They came out in pieces so I could not take them home.

2. The Japanese mafia is TRUE. I will divulge as much as I can but I still stick to my story even if it is still in the theory stage. I did a year exchange in Japan (before my mission) with Rotary International. While I was with my first host family, I was on my way to the train station to go to school. It was about a 15 min walk. Now, some of you may know, or not, Japan can be a very safe and inviting place but sometimes there are weirdos lurking and frequently perverts ready to lift up your skirt and grab your butt! (A story for another time). Also, being a foreigner in Japan, lets just put it nicely...I stood out like a sore thumb. I was approached on several occasions by shady characters to take a letter or to stop and talk. I refused, of course, by just running away. I have since devised lots of alternative actions I would have done. I would have taken the letter, read it, gotten kidnapped because of what I then "knew", and escaped by a hair to tell the tale. However, it remains to be that I'm a wuss when it comes to confrontation. And I'll stick to my story that, had I really taken that letter, my life would be very different today.

3. I HAVE had a warrant out for my arrest. While at BYU, I drove a scooter around for transportation. I was pulled over one day for not yielding to pedestrian (lame-o), which I didn't see because there was a car parked in the way. I got a double citation because I also didn't have my motorcycle endorsement, which I thought I didn't need because my scooter wasn't above a certain cc, whatever. I went to contest it in court, showed up with about an hour in between classes, saw that the courtroom was full of other cases, and decided just to pay the fine. However, when I didn't show up for court, that is all the judge knew and that is how the warrant got put out, even though I paid my fine. It was about 6 months later that I received a letter from the Utah Education Department that my background check for my application to student teach was put on hold because there was a WARRANT OUT FOR MY ARREST! I had been driving around for 6 months!! Red hot!!! Had I been pulled over, there would have been no questions asked, I would have been cuffed and taken in. Luckily my roommate was a lawyer (public defense attorney) and she wrote a personalized letter to the friendly judge and I was off the hook.

4. True--I am a Biologist. I went to BYU. I took Entomology and even worked in the Monte L. Bean Museum as a curator for the Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) collection. My collection was SWEET, however, I only have a couple of specimens left in alcohol jars because moving doesn't mix with insect collections.

5. This one breaks my heart. I can't believe how many people didn't know I was a tapper (excused for all those who don't know me). Tapping really does feed my soul! My tap idol is Savion Glover and I someday WILL tap on Broadway.

Since Kara is the only one who got it right, I tag Kara!


Puppy Chow and Candy Bar Cake

Well I'd have to say my favorite kind of buffet would have to be a dessert buffet!
So here are a couple of my favorite treats.

This first one is a great movie treat. My sisters and I make this EVERY time we are all together. It used to be our "Are you Afraid of the Dark" treat growing up. Did anyone else used to watch that show on Nick at Night!? It was a good show! :)

Puppy Chow
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
6 cups Crispix cereal (Chex will also work)
1 cup powdered sugar (you may need more)
Melt margarine, peanut butter, and choc. chips in the microwave in a large bowl (about a min). Stir until chips are melted. Carefully fold Crispix into the chocolate mixture until all the Crispix are coated. Place the powdered sugar into a brown paper grocery bag. Pour Crispix mixture on top of the powdered sugar in the bag. Shake until all Crispix are covered with powdered sugar.
**I don't use a paper bag. I put the powdered sugar and the mixture into a huge mixing bowl that has a lid and shake it up in there... you just have to be careful not to shake too hard or you'll just have crumbs!

And this next one is what Brian and I both have as our birthday cake! YUM!!!

Candy Bar Cake
Mix the following ingredients together and beat for 3 min.
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups warm water
2 eggs
Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Cool.
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz tub of Cool Whip.
4 crushed Skor or Heath bars (easiest to crush when frozen).
Mix together butter and powdered sugar. Fold into Cool Whip. Spread crushed Skor bars on top.


Some really good low fat/low cal recipes!

These two recipes are staples in our home! They are really yummy, and you would never guess they are low cal/low fat. I usually serve the chicken with some steamed red potatoes and a big salad. The pie is from a awesome website called Hungry Girl, if you are into the whole low cal thing I would highly recommend you check it out! She does not only have great recipes, but she is hillarious!

Swiss Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

2 C. Hot Water
6 Sun Dried Tomatoes (Not oil packed)
4 Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 t. Salt
1/4 t. Fresh Ground Pepper
4 Slices Fat Free Swiss Cheese
1 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 t. Dried Oregano

1. Pour the hot water over the tomatoes in a small bowl. Let stand until the tomatoes are softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, then chop tomatoes.

2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 t. salt and half the pepper. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. And the chicken and cook until we browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over and top each breast with one forth of the tomatoes and 1 slice of the cheese. Cook about 1 minute. Add the broth, vinegar, oregano, and the remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 mintues. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon, cover and keep warm.

3. Cook the broth mixture about 1 minute. Pour over chicken and serve.

Makes four servings. Per serving 198 Calories, 6 g. of fat.

Oreo Pie

4 packs 100 Calorie Packs Oreo Thin Crisps
3 cups light vanilla soymilk
1/2 a small (4-serving) pkg. JELL-O Sugar Free Fat Free Cook & Serve pudding mix Vanilla
1 envelope unflavored Knox Gelatin
2 cups thawed Cool Whip Free
2 tbsp. sugar-free chocolate syrup

Stir pudding mix into soymilk in a medium-large saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a full boil. In a large mixing bowl, combine soymilk mixture with gelatin and whisk continuously for at least 5 minutes (until gelatin is completely dissolved). Place dish in the fridge for about 45 - 60 minutes, until chilled and partially set. Meanwhile, take 1 and 1/2 packs of the cookies and process in a blender or food processor until reduced to fine crumbs (or place them in a sealable plastic bag and crush through the bag with a rolling pin; less clean up!). Place crumbs in a 9" pie dish, and use your hands to spread crumbs along the bottom to cover. Take remaining 1/2 pack of cookies along with 3rd pack and break into pieces; set aside. Once mixture in fridge is ready, stir in 1 and 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip (a wire whisk works wonders) until thoroughly mixed. Next gently stir cookie pieces into the mix. Carefully pour mixture into pie dish and spread evenly on top of crumbs. Return to fridge until set (3 hours or overnight). Once ready to serve, break 4th pack of cookies into small pieces. Spread 1/2 cup Cool Whip over pie and sprinkle cookie pieces on top. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and prepare to get cookies 'n cream crazy!

Makes 8 servings, per serving : 115 Calories, 1.75 g. Fat


I have to make dinner, again?

Now that we are getting nicer weather I have loved being at the park in the afternoons...and so have my kids!! It's fun to ask the other moms..."what are you making tonight?" By the time we get in from the out there's not much time to whip anything extravagant together. So here is a list of dinners that are a cinch to make...hence there are no real recipes attached...just good old easy ideas. I think sometimes it takes me longer to think of what to make than to actually make it. Here's some ideas with things people could have on hand, who spent too long at the park and need to whip something together quickly.

Idea #1--"The Pizza spin-off" English muffins topped with your favorite pizza toppers and baked until the cheese oozes.

Idea #2--"Cheesadillas" Fry a tortilla in a buttered pan with cheese and lunch ham inside (yes, we speak spanish in our house occasionally but for some reason quesadilla just sounds more fun when we call it a cheesadilla with a spanish accent.)

Idea #3--"The mac 'n cheese spin off" Cook some pasta, drain it, add some butter and some Parmesan cheese (NO! NOT THE GREEN CAN OF YUCK...I'm talking real Parmesan cheese grated) while it's still hot.

hmmm...what did everyone eat for dinner tonight?

Find Shelly's Lie

1. I still have all my wisdom teeth in my mouth.
2. I've had a run-in with the Japanese mofia (yakuza!).
3. I have had a warrant out for my arrest.
4. I once collected an insect collection of over 400 bugs.
5. Tap dancing feeds my soul.

Good luck!


Stimulating your kids

Lately I have begun to worry about how much stimulation Brielle is getting on a daily basis. I don't really know how to help her learn things at her age, besides playing with her toys, and simple things like that. I just want to be sure that I am doing all that I can do to help her learn new things and in her development both mentally and physically.
How do you stimulate your kids? Are there certain books that your kids need, or certain types of toys, or certain activities? Is it bad if I put Brielle on the floor and have her entertain herself sometimes while I clean or make dinner?
Sorry, I may not be wording this the right way, it sounded better in my head. Also, I might be thinking this as well because it seems that I've done everything I can think of to do inside with a 9 month old about a thousand times. I may just be in desperate need of warm weather. Who knows! But any advice would be greatly appreciated! Both for toddler age, and baby ages!



I pressed publish before I added my salad- sorry!!!
My favorite Spring-Summer Salad!!

2 pears
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
3 cups seedless grapes
1/2 lemon, juiced
8 ounces strawberry cream cheese
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pretzels, broken

Combine the pears, apples, bananas, strawberries and grapes. Add lemon juice and toss.
Blend together the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon; add the fruit and pretzels. Fold together. Serve immediately with a dollop of lite whipped topping or refrigerate until chilled.
I don't add my pretzels until almost time to serve because they get soggy!!


Today we went to Patrick's T-ball game and pictures. We all got sunburned and we watched the game with no jackets!! It was so much fun to wear sunglasses and capri pants! Oh, this is one time of year that I am glad we live in Nampa! We actually see spring!!! Mady was not so sure she liked the sun, and was pretty grumpy to be outside- but I don't blame her since the only time she sees the sun is when we are driving in our van! She has been covered up her whole life by blankets! It is a beautiful day!!!


Ok time to reveal the truth. You guys did pretty good! I haven't been stung by a jellyfish! But my sister has and it looked pretty painful so I'm glad that's a lie for me! :)

For those of you who were curious about the other options here are my explanations! :)
1. I had my appendix removed. Yup, when I was 4-years-old my appendix "burst" and I obviously had to get it removed! I still have a lot of memories and a nice scar from that event. And now that I'm a mom of a 4-yr-old I can't even imagine how scary that probably was for my parents!
3. I failed a class at BYU. Apparently this is more common than I thought! That's nice to hear! Well this was even more complicated by the fact that I failed the class the day before we moved to MN! So I had to retake it through independent study to get my degree! UGH! It was a Nutrition class and I HATED it!
4. I've had the police called on me. Haha... ok not because I committed a crime but because my parents thought I had been kidnapped! One night my mom and I saw someone flashing a light into one of the windows of our house. Well I went outside to see if it was one of my friends and being the dumb naive teenager that I was, I ran off after the flashing light down the street and all the way into the next neighborhood. When my mom came to see where I was, I wasn't in the front yard anymore. Since she had no idea who was flashing the light she freaked out! Well LUCKILY it was one of my friends and after I caught up with him and the stupid game ended I headed back home.... only to find my very freaked out parents who had the police on their way over to report their missing daughter! WOW! I am not excited to have teenagers!
5. I have visited 13 countries. I've been lucky because my parents love to travel and my mom hates to leave her kids behind! :) I've been to the Bahamas, Fiji, Costa Rica, Mexico, England, France, Germany, Lichtenstein (ok this only half counts since it's soooooo small), Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.
And that's it about me!!!

In the future everyone only tag one person each. But I'm going to tag 2 so that we have 2 people going every week.... then the game won't take 16 more weeks! :) If you can't/don't want to do it just say so in the comments and we can tag someone else.
So I tag Shelly and Calise


Orzo Pasta Salad

My sister made this for Lijah's birthday party last summer and it was a hit! Monica can attest to that, right Monica? I learned the hard way that this does not freeze well, so I guess you'll have to eat it all right away. I usually don't have a problem with that.

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed
lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta
cheese, large diced

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of
salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.


Chicken and Cabbage

Wow, I've got 10 out of 16 of you playing the game so far! It's so fun reading your guesses! Are the other 6 of you out there somewhere or has this blog drifted into the "check once a month or so" category?? :) Well I hope everyone plays when they are tagged! I definitely want to hear some fun stories about everyone! I'm not sure though if I should be offended that NO ONE thinks I could be lying about failing a class at BYU!? haha!

Anyway... this post isn't about the game it's about salad! And I know how this recipe sounds but trust me it IS good! Even my picky picky husband likes it and requests it for dinner! And it's definitely more of a main dish than a side salad!

Chicken and Cabbage (aka Chinese Cabbage Salad--plus chicken!)
Mix together:
4 C cooked chicken, shredded
1 large head of cabbage, chopped
2 pkgs uncooked Ramen noodles (noodles only), broken into bite size pieces or smaller
4 T slivered almonds
4 green onions, chopped (I've never used these or the almonds when I make it)

Then mix:
4 T sugar
6 T white vinegar
1 C oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Pour over cabbage mixture and toss.
*I usually half this recipe, one head of cabbage is a lot!


Everything Salad

This is a recipe I got from my sister Aubrey its yummy and probably my favorite salad.

Everything Salad
½ cup sliced almonds
3 T. sugar

Stir together in frying pan over medium heat until sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until almonds are coated and begin to turn golden brown. Spread out on foil to cool.

!/2 head green leaf Lettuce
½ head romaine Lettuce
1 Cup chopped celery
4 green onions, chopped
1 can mandarin oranges (11oz.), drained
1 avocado, chopped
1 diced apple
¼ cup craisins
½ cup crumbled bleu cheese or feta cheese

Mix all ingredients together and toss with dressing:

½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ cup light olive oil
1 T. chopped parsley
2 T. sugar
2 T. white wine vinegar

Dressing tastes better if it has an hour or so to blend together before tossing w/salad.



I LOVE salads, especially the kind that aren't typical salads, and have lots of stuff in them. So, awhile back, I told you about this Pioneer Woman's website. Well, I'm hooked, and the thing that got me hooked, was this salad recipe. I'm planning on trying, it looks SO good, but I haven't bought everything for it yet.

Since the recipe this week is for salad, I thought I'd share. Go HERE to see the complete recipe, written by the Pioneer Woman herself! ENJOY! And if you try this before I do, let us know how it turns out!!


Find the Lie

Hey Mommy Bloggers!

I thought it would be fun to start a game on here. We have a pretty big group and there are a bunch of girls that aren't in MN so I thought it would be fun to do something where we can kind of get to know a little more about each other. So the game is called Find the Lie, and I'm sure some of you have played some version of it before but here's how it goes: I'm going to post 5 facts about myself, and 1 will be a lie. Then it's up to you guys to guess in the comments which one is the lie. Then on Friday or Saturday I will post again saying which one it was. And in that post I'll "tag" the next person who will post their 5 facts the next week (so make sure you're checking at the end of each week to see if you've been tagged). Does that make sense?
Now, this isn't going to be fun unless EVERYONE participates and tries to guess! If you are tagged and you don't want to play or can't do it that week please let us know in the comments as soon as possible so someone else can be tagged. And when it's your turn try and post at the beginning of the week so everyone has a chance to guess. Whoever guesses the most lies correct WINS!

So here are mine:
1. I had my appendix removed
2. I've been stung by a jellyfish
3. I failed a class at BYU
4. I've had the police called on me
5. I've visited 13 countries outside the US

Which one do you think is the lie?


Quirks of the trade....

I think this post is better called "quirks" of the trade, rather than "tricks" of the trade. This past week, I've really felt like a "frumpy" mom.... you know the kind where you don't shower until just before bed, and you stay in your sweats all day? Most days, I feel like I'm just a cleaning lady, cleaning messes around my house, cleaning bums, cleaning my kitchen, doing my dishes, and I clean apts. on the side here at our complex. This week was no exception. So.... every evening about when my husband was getting home, I'd run into my room, check myself out in the mirror, and wish I'd showered or at least gotten dressed. My husband loves me unconditionally, and doesn't really care what I look like when he gets home, but I care how I look for him, as well as how my house looks, for him.

So my question for all of you - is there something you do everyday (besides getting dressed and looking fabulous) to make your home a little sweeter before your hubby gets home? I feel like a good homecoming for my husband is really important to me, it sets the tone, and the mood for the rest of the evening. If he comes home to a disaster, I feel like our evening is chaotic and not relaxing at all, but if I get the living room and kitchen at least somewhat picked up, it gives him the feeling/chance to feel relaxed and play with Will, or do something as a family, instead of worrying about what I didn't get done. I had a friend whose Mom would vacuum the floor and put on lipstick, daily before her husband got home. I definately don't vacuum everyday, and I don't really wear lipstick, but I do try to pick up some toys and have the dishes done :). Is there something all you cute moms out there do to make your evenings, or when your husband gets home a little sweeter?



I love crepes! You can put almost anything you like in them and they are fabulous. I love this particular filling, but fruit and whipped cream is just delightful.


4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour (I used wheat last time and they were just as good)
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix eggs and salt. Alternate adding flour and milk a little at a time while whisking (electric mixer is fine too.) until smooth. Beat in melted butter. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour before making crepes.


3 cups strawberries
1/3 cup suger
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Slice berries, add sugar and set aside. In blender, whip cottage cheese until smooth. Then stir in sour cream and powdered sugar.

Pecan Rolls

Wow, great breakfast recipes! Keep them coming!! And if anyone has a request for an ingredient of the week let me know!! I try to think of easy ones but I never know what will be.

Here's my breakfast recipe. These are SOO good but since you have to fill up a Bundt pan I usually only make them when there are a lot of people to feed.
And even though they are called Pecan Rolls you can definitely leave out the pecans and they are great that way too!

Pecan Rolls

1 ¾ cup pecans
½ small pkg butterscotch pudding
½ cup brown sugar
1 bag Rhodes frozen rolls (24 count)- I typically only use around 18-20
½ cup melted butter
1 T cinnamon

Butter a Bundt pan well. Spread pecans on bottom. Place rolls on top (all 24 may not fit). Sprinkle pudding on top of rolls. Combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and drizzle over rolls. Spray tin foil with Pam and place over Bundt pan. Cover with a dish towel and leave overnight. Bake when risen. Turn upside-down onto cake pan or serving plate to serve.

Temp- 350 degrees
Bake Time- 30 min


My Breakfast Contribution

This may sound a little unorthodox, but trust me, it's delish!

4 eggs
3 lbs of butter
1/2 jar of Cheez Whiz
4 TBSP Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

Mix all ingredients together, then bake at 450 degrees for 16 minutes.
Serve hot with salad dressing on top and apple cider to's family tradition.

Oh, did I mention this recipe is only to be made on April 1st? hee hee...

German Pancakes

(from the Dittli's, whom some of you may know)
Super easy and quick:

2 Tbl. butter
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbl. sugar

Heat oven to 400 F. Put butter in loaf pan or cake pan and melt in oven. Blend remaining ingredients with a mixer. Pour batter into bubbling hot butter pan. Bake for 25 min. Serve hot with applesauce, fruit, syrup and powdered sugar. For richer pancakes: increase butter a bit and sugar to 1/4 cup.
If you have never made these before, you may be surprised at how BIG it "blows" up on the sides in the oven! Yummy!