Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

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Tricks of the Trade--The True Meaning

Wahoo! I didn't know I had the topic. Are there two Shelly's??
Anyway, I don't really know much about this. My son is not quite two yet and this is his second Christmas. He is still under the understanding that Christmas is all about the Christmas tree, the lights and the fun music. No expectations, no disappointments. Next year will be another story, but we are enjoying this while we can.
But on the cover of the Ensign is the manger scene that we look at a lot and always point out Baby Jesus. I have about 7 or 8 Nativity sets up all over the house and a big advent calendar on the wall. I keep the ones he can play with low and the ones I don't want touched, obviously, up high. We went caroling last night, wishing friends and neighbors Merry Christmas. As our family is just starting, the traditions are also just starting. Growing up, my most favorite memories of Christmas were the ones where we, as a family, gave to another family (especially secretly). I hope to keep those traditions.


Chilled Christmas Punch

I needed a quick christmasy punch last week and found this one on The cinnamon really gives it a christmasy kick. My husband liked it so much he asked me to make it again for Christmas dinner.




Hi, my name is Ericka and I have been a follower of the blog for some time. I am a friend of Cassi's and her family and now have decided to join in on the fun and become part of the awesome blogger mom's.
I suppose you would all like to know a little about me. I am originally from New York and Spain but have lived in AZ for the longest amount of time in one place so I like to consider it my home. My husbands name is Tyler and we have been married for 4 years and have a little boy named Porter who was born in July of this year. We live in Queen Creek, AZ where we just bought our first home and we love it! I have a degree in Elementary Education from ASU and got to teach 4th grade for a year before getting to become a stay at home mom. My husband and I met trough mutual friends and have been best friends ever since. He is from a small town in Wyoming which we like to visit often.
There are tons of things I enjoy such as crafts, cooking, traveling, shopping, taking pictures and of course blogging! I do have a blog for those who want to know more so come check out my crazy family!
Thanks for letting join you ladies, I hope what I contribute can be of help to others!


Shortbread Cookies

While at Rob's parents' house a couple days ago, his mom and I made some yummy Christmas cookies. One of her favorites are these Nut Shortbread Cookies. I'd never had them before, but I love them! And, of course, they're super easy.

1 c butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c nuts, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients, then chill for at least 1/2 hour. Roll to 1/2 inch thick. Cut, bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies


Holiday Comic Relief

So, probably a ton of you guys know about this blog, but I thought that I would share for those of you who don't and who need a little laugh at this busy time of year. This blog is written by an anonymous (and hilarious) person who pretends to be TAMN - a girl who embodies almost all stereotypes of Utah Mormons. It's just funny because some of it is so true and it's in a very good natured way. I find myself laughing at her antics (and how some of it relates to me - yikes) all the time, so I thought you'd enjoy it too. Check it out at and if it's your first time she has an intro about herself in the upper right hand corner. Merry Christmas!

Superman vs. Batman

Okay all you mommies, I completed a project and I'm so excited about it that I thought I would share it with you. From one mommy to another, I know you'll appreciate it. I saw this idea at a craft show and I thought to myself.... "I bet I could do that." So today, I did. I didn't use a pattern or anything, it was REALLY simple, but if you want some rough directions of what I did, let me know!

Basically I just picked out material, used fleece behind the logos, and felt for the logos. Then sewed ribbon on the top for the tie. I'm giving it to my 2 1/2 year old for Christmas, I think he'll like it, and then I can post pictures of my little man being a super hero!


I got this recipe from a friend here in MN.  It is delish, and I think it makes a wonderful holiday treat!!  Oh, it is really easy too.  And sorry, it doesn't freeze..... hahaha.  

Line 15x1 pan (jelly roll pan) with foil and grease with butter (or spray with Pam).

Place down one layer of saltines and set aside (you might need to break some of the saltines so they fit).

In a sauce pan, combine 1 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until it starts to caramelize.

Pour over saltines and spread around.

Bake for 7-9 minutes @ 350° F.

Pour 1 bag (2 cups) chocolate chips over the hot caramel.  Let melt and spread all over.

Sprinkle toffee chips on top.

Let cool for about 2 hours (or as long as you can stand it!)

Break apart and ENJOY!

Yummy Fudge!

I love this no bake fudge, so yummy and my kids love to help!
Bachelor Fudge
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick) softened
1/4-1/2 c. cocoa
3 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. powdered sugar (3 3/4 c. unsifted)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Sift powdered sugar and cocoa in a gallon size bag. Mix butter, sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. (smush and smash the bag until all the lumps of butter and cheese are gone). Press into pan, or roll into logs. Press nuts on top or roll the fudge into them. Refrigerate- store in refrigerator. Vary amount of cocoa depending on individual taste.


Gingerbread Pancakes!!

Gingerbread Pancakes
2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of ground cloves
4 T. molasses
2 T. vegetable oil
2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs lightly beaten
In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, oil, buttermilk and molasses. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until uniform. Lightly grease griddle over medium hat and cook the pancakes about 3 minutes on each side. Serve with hot maple syrup, applesauce and whipped cream or powdered sugar.
How great do these sound??? Try some.


A story I just have to share!!!

A little preface, I have two daughters Mikelle 3 and Kaylee 1 and am pregnant with child #3. Forever now Mikelle has wanted to name the baby Kaylee, if its a girl....

I have the funniest 3 year old in the whole world!!!! Kaylee was crawling up on the couch to sit by me and Mikelle says in a sad voice "I going ta miss her". I said "well, where is Kaylee going" Mikelle says "her is leaving" I said "but where is she going" Mikelle said "when da new baby comes Kayay haf to go bu bye". I about died from laughing. I explained to her that I love Kaylee and I could never send her away. I then told her that we would have 3 little kids, Mikelle, Kaylee and the new baby. I then asked her if that is why she wanted to name the new baby Kaylee, because she thought Kaylee was leaving and she said that yes, that was why she wanted to name the new baby Kaylee. Oh sad, I feel bad that she has thought that Kaylee was getting the boot, but mostly it makes me laugh. I also think its funny that she assumed we would send Kaylee away and not her. :)

A Time For Giving

We are usually out of town visiting family long before the plates of Christmas goodies from neighbors and friends come rolling in. This year, however, we are staying put here in Florida (really, who wants to leave 74 degree weather?!) We've thought about giving loaves of poppy seed bread, cookies, or other assortment of treats to those neighbors, home/visiting teachers, and friends whom we appreciate...but we are still undecided.

What do you give to friends and neighbors for Christmas?


And the winners are...

Thanks to everyone for sharing how they make Christmas special! We LOVED reading all of your Christmas was so hard not to comment in response! Thanks for the great ideas!

And now what you've all been waiting for!! We used our new best friend to help select our winners and here is what she said...

10-Steeves Family said...
Traditions -- Some of my earliest memories is of the 8th floor exhibit. I remember Mom and Dad taking us there every year, seeing Santa and then Dad would buy us Gingerbread cookies at the end. I don't think I have missed a year, even on college break or coming home for the holidays - we would always make a trip downtown to the 8th floor. Mom and Dad have carried this tradition on with my kids. This year we went to the 8th floor with Grandpa, saw Santa and had our gingerbread cookies It was a nice day, but we all missed having Grandma there

61-rdittli said...
Growing up the best part about Christmas was planning presents to make for everyone. Also, we acted out Luke 2 with costumes on Christmas Eve. For our relatively new family, the only consistent tradition so far is that at Christmas we have more family around. We've gone somewhere or had visitors every Christmas. I love the ideas I've read here! Maybe next year I'll report on which ones I successfully added to our holiday tradition. :)

You have 24 hours to claim your prize(s) may choose up to 3 prizes!! Be sure to email by 7am Sunday December 14th to select your prizes (with a few back up ideas in case the other winner beat you to the punch.) If we don't hear from you by then we'll select a new winner. We'll mail them to you before Christmas so you have some fun stocking stuffers!

Thanks again for participating!!


The Mommies


Pick Your Prize GIVEAWAY

Hey there Mommy Bloggers! With Christmas coming up in just 17 days we thought it was the perfect time to do our very first GIVEAWAY!!! We've actually been planning this for a while but couldn't quite come up with something that would be cool enough for a prize. So instead of doing just one prize we decided to combine our talents (and an assortment of other fun things) and do a "pick your prize" giveaway!!! So here's how it will work:

  • Just leave a comment to enter the contest. We don't care who you are, an author, a reader, or a complete stranger. But be sure to tell your friends because the more comments the more winners!
  • In your comment answer this question (any simple answer will do, we are not picking the winner based on your answers): How do you make Christmas special for your kids/family?
  • Only ONE entry per person. If you leave more than one comment we will delete them.
  • The winner will get to pick their prize(s) from the items below.
  • Every 50 comments we will choose an additional winner. Each winner may choose three prizes.
  • However if we somehow do get more than 300 comments we will stay with only 6 winners. You can still enter the contest after 300 comments have been left but only 6 from the total number of comments will be chosen.
  • Giveaway ends on Friday (Dec 12th) at MIDNIGHT (central standard time). Winners will be selected randomly using and announced the next morning.
  • If you are one of the winners email to claim your prizes. If we do not receive an email from you within 24 hours we will pick another lucky winner. So make sure you check on Saturday morning!
  • Prizes will be given on a first come first serve basis so when you email you might want to give a couple "back up" choices in case another winner emails before you.
So... let's show you what you're playing for!!
Each winner picks 3 of these:


Handmade placemat purse- this is just an example of the style, the purse won't look exactly like this.

2 little girl corker bows

Handmade purple little girl bracelet

The Lake House dvd*

Baby bibs*

Snugly sleeper 0-9 months*

Fun book for your little ones*

Set of 6 handmade greeting cards

Toy firetruck*

Handmade bow sewn fleece baby blanket in either pink or blue

Festive Fourth of July shoes infant size 3*

Little girl skirt 6-9 months*

Handmade Earrings

Handmade Earrings

Handmade earrings

2 handmade felt flower clips for mommies (you pick the colors)
-yes... I said mommies... these are all the rage here. Most people wear them next to the rubber band of a pony tail.

2 handmade felt flower clips for girls (you pick the colors)

Girl outfit 24 months*

Eye shadow and lip gloss/blush combo*

Twirly skirt made from this fabric. You pick the size (little girl sizes only)

I should mention that the jewelry and flower clips were all ideas inspired by Kara.

*Everything that is not made by us is brand new and never used and still has tags or plastic wrap.


Tricks of the trade

We are going to be painting our living room and since I have two kids I am looking for a quick and easy way to get this done. Does anyone have any items as to how to make sure that is goes smoothly??

{Christmas Gift Ideas on a Budget}

The last couple of years I have given my family calendars. I buy them for $3 at Office Max or Staples they are the big desktop kind and they have lines for writing. I can't write straight so having lines is a must for Then I buy stickers for every Holiday, Birthday. and Anniversary so that it looks more personal. I then add every one's birthdays and anniversary's. Each family is different. For example for my sister I added all of our family then I was able to email her husbands sister and I got all of his family members birthdays and anniversary's. I was only planning on doing it for one year but everyone wants it every year.

My sister makes a music CD every year with a song that represents each family member for that year. We only include my Mom and Dad, their children and spouses. The grand kids are not included. This is something that we look forward to every year and it's fun to see what song they have picked out for everyone. My song this year was called "Soccer Mom" It fit me perfectly.

Blender Wheat Pancakes

I've been meaning to put this up for a while - so Shalee's motivation was great. Here is a great way to use up some of your wheat without needing a wheat grinder:

Blender Wheat Pancakes
1 C milk (translation for powered milk is 3 T. milk and 1 C Water)
1 C wheat kernels (whole and uncooked)
2 Eggs (2 T. powered eggs 1/4 C. Water)
2 T. Oil
2 T. Honey or Sugar
1/2 C + Bisquick (ours were a little runny, so I'm still experimenting with how much is needed to make them the right consistency).

Put milk and wheat kernels in blender.
Blend on highest speed for 4 or 5 minutes or until batter is smooth.
Add eggs, oil, sugar or honey to above batter.
Blend on low.
Pour out batter into pancakes from the actual blender jar (the only thing to wash!) onto the hot greased or Pam prepared griddle.
Cook; flipping pancakes when bubbles pop and create holes.

We actually tried this as waffles and you can use applesauce instead of oil to cut out the fat.

This recipe came from Everyday Food Storage, which has great ideas on using food storage... well...everyday. Check it out at

FYI Mommies

Hi Mommies,

Each week leading up to Christmas we will have gift ideas being posted to help aid you in your christmas shopping. Check the sidebar to see what age we're focusing on. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions of gifts that your children have especially loved and that get the mommy stamp of approval!



Go Fish (or Memory)

For the last few years I tried to personalize our gifts for my nieces and nephews by making them their own set of Go Fish cards or a Memory game. It takes a little work but makes a lasting, exciting, inexpensive gift for Christmas.

Here's what I do...I print 2 pictures (I got a little over zealous one year and made 4 pictures...bad idea) of every family member (extended family too...which in my case isn't that many...or you could do all the cousins, etc.) The pictures don't have to be the exact time I used a picture of my sis-in-law making a silly face and another of her smiling. You want the pictures to be closer up so it is mostly of the person and not of the background.

Then I cut...I cut all of the pictures to be the same size (you can keep them as 4x6s but I thought that was too big to play with) and then I also cut up colored card stock to be a little bigger size than the pictures. For my gold fish game I stamped fish all over one side of the card stock and I glued the picture on the other side. (It's important to keep the non-picture side all the same though!)

Then to make the game a little more lasting (and just when you thought you were done!) I cover them in clear contact paper. Then I cut them out so they are all the same size again.

Next I find a good small box that the game cards will fit in. I type up rules to the game personalizing them to the family I am giving it to (i.e. instead of saying "player" I type the child's name.) And I paste it to the inside lid of the game. I think I also print out the name of the game and paste it to the outside of the lid.

And voila!