Monday, December 22, 2008

Biggest Pumpkin Pie Supreme Ever!

So, a couple of weeks ago my mom and I made the biggest pan of pumpkin pie supreme that I have ever seen! It was two batches worth in one huge pan; we made it for a big family Christmas dinner.

The cool thing was we used one can of pumpkin and 3 1/2 cups of my homemade pumpkin puree and it tasted great! Since then I have also made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with my puree which were also a hit...I'm glad that my pumpkin puree works.

Anyway, I thought I'd include the recipe on my blog again for anyone wanting to make it right now during the holidays:


1 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. ground cloves

4 eggs

3½ cup pumpkin (29 oz. can)

1 can evaporated milk

Topping: 1 pkg. yellow cake mix, 1 cube butter

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly. Pour into non-greased 9x13 inch pan. Cover with dry cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over the top of cake mix. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350degrees for 45 minutes. Serve chilled with whip cream.

Notes: Lately I've been doing only a half of a package of cake mix as the topping and it isn't so rich. I now prefer it this way. Thanks for this tip Mom.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

So, do you guys like the snow? Here's how it's done: click here for instructions on how to make it snow on your blog...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

This is a fun Christmas count down that you can either do by yourself or as a family. I know I'm posting this a little late, but either go back and get caught up or just start from today and go forward.



#1, Dec 13 - Isaiah 53:1-6, 7:14, 9:6-7, 2 Ne 25:19, Alma 7:9-13 (16 verses)

Prophecies of Christ's birth & mission

"Beautiful Savior", CS* p. 62

#2, Dec 14 - 1 Nephi 10:2-19 (18 verses)

Lehi prophesies of Christ's life and mission, Nephi finds our for himself prophecies are true

"Picture a Christmas", CS p. 50

#3, Dec 15 - 1 Nephi 11:13-34 (22 verses)

Nephi's vision of life and mission of Christ

"Hark, the Herald Angels Sing", Hymn 209

#4, Dec 16 - Helaman 14:1-13 (13 verses)

Samuel the Lamanite prophesies of sign of Christ's birth

"Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus", CS p. 36

#5, Dec 17 - 3 Nephi 1:4-21 (21 verses)

Sign of Christ's birth fulfilled in America

"Silent Night, Holy Night", Hymn 204

#6, Dec 18 - Luke 1:26-38 (13 verses)

Angel Gabriel appears to Mary

"Oh, Hush Thee My Baby", CS p. 48

#7, Dec 19 - Matthew 1:18-25 (8 verses)

Angel Gabriel appears to Joseph

"When Joseph Went to Bethlehem", CS p. 38

#8, Dec 20 - Luke 1:39-56 (18 verses)

Mary goes to stay with Elizabeth, Elizabeth and Mary prophesy of Christ

"Little Jesus", CS p. 39

#9, Dec 21 - Luke 2:1-7 (7 verses)

Mary & Joseph go to be taxed, Jesus born in a stable

"Away in a Manger", Hymn 206

#10, Dec 22 - Luke 2:8-20 (13 verses)

Shepherds see angels, go to find Jesus

"Angels We Have Heard on High", Hymn 203

#11, Dec 23 - Matthew 2:1-15 (15 verses)

Wise men follow star, visit Jesus, Joseph warned to flee to Egypt

"With Wondering Awe", Hymn 210

#12, Dec 24 - D&C 93:1-20, 76:40-42 (23 verses)

Christ progressed from grace to grace, so can we, glad tidings

"I'm Trying to Be like Jesus", CS p. 78

* CS = Children's Songbook

FYI: I got this from my mom...she just modified it a bit to be a 24 Days of Christmas countdown which I will probably post next year since I was way too late to do that this year...ENJOY!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Method for Using Veggie Purees

So I'm still going strong using veggie purees in my cooking (check out this post if you missed it), but I have a new method. I've seen this idea on a couple of different blogs for baby food and I realized that it would be a much more effective method.

I used to do 1/2 cup portions in Ziploc bags like this:

...but now I'm freezing them in ice cube trays first and then having large Ziploc bags full of the veggie cubes like this:

I've discovered that about 4 cubes equals 1/2 cup. It is less wasteful because I use fewer Ziploc bags and no puree is left behind since it is frozen in cubes instead of needing to be squeezed out of the sandwich bag after being thawed. It is also so much easier to add to my meals and my smoothies...I love it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hand and Foot and Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

We've learned a new fun game called Hand and Foot (thanks Bob and Erika)...

...and here are the rules...

Also, here's a fun snack to eat while playing games that I just tried called Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix...

...that I got off Here's the recipe:

Cheesy Ranch Chex® Mix

You’ll really enjoy this tasty snack that’s highlighted with the popular flavor of ranch dressing.

Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:15 min
Makes:26 servings (1/2 cup each)
Average 4.34 from 171 ratingsAverage 4.34 from 171 ratingsAverage 4.34 from 171 ratingsAverage 4.34 from 171 ratingsAverage 4.34 from 171 ratings 171 ratings Rate Email Print
Corn Chex®Rice Chex®Wheat Chex®
9cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex® or Wheat Chex® cereal (or combination)
2cups bite-size pretzel twists
2cups bite-size cheese crackers
3tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1package (1 oz) ranch dressing and seasoning mix
1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
Go ahead and add some peanuts or mixed nuts to the mix—about 1 cup would be just enough!
Preparation Directions
1.In large microwavable bowl, mix cereal, pretzels and crackers. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated. Stir in dressing mix and cheese until evenly coated.
2.Microwave uncovered on High 3 minutes, stirring each minute. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


So my Christmas project this year is a fun HO HO HO Christmas decoration.

Here are some pictures of the process in case you want to make it for's a lot of fun and pretty easy.

Step 1: Layout your holiday fabric folded in half (preferably right sides together). Make the letter patterns out of wax paper or other flexible material. Pin patterns onto fabric and cut out letters.

Step 2: Take off letter patterns and pin letters together again, right sides together.

Step 3: Sew letters together. For the "H", sew all of the way around the outside border, except leave an opening on one side of the short part in the middle of the "H". You can also sew all the way around the border of the "H" and then cut an opening in one side of the "H" after you have flipped it. Then just make sure that is in the back when it's done. For the "O" sew all of the way around the inner "O" and the outer "O". When doing this, start and stop at the top of the "O" on the inner and the outer "O leaving a very small space in between your starting and stopping backstitching. This is because you are going to cut all the way through the "O" at the top where you have left your VERY small opening so that the "O" becomes a tube.

Step 4: Flip both letters right side out so that they are ready to stuff with stuffing. Fill each letter with stuffing so that it is like a pillow.

Step 5: Hand stitch the holes closed and then hand stitch the tops of the "H" and the "O" to a ribbon. Do three "HO"s in a row so that it says "HO HO HO" like in my picture at the top of this post.

Here is another fabric combination I did for the HO, HO, HO's:

Also, here are some measurement notes:

-1 yard each of three different prints of fabrics will make 4 HO, HO, HO's.
-1 1/2 yards each of three different prints of fabrics will make 7 HO, HO, HO's.
-1 bag of stuffing should fill about 4 HO, HO, HO's.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amazing Chicken Taco Soup in the Crock Pot

Chicken Taco Soup (crock pot)

1/2 large Onion, diced
1 (16 ounce) can Chili Beans (not just plain pinto)
1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans (don't drain either of these)
1 1/3 cup Frozen Corn
1 (8 ounce) can Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (short cut - add 1 1/2 cups water and then just toss in 1sp chicken stock)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis (original recipe calls for two - FYI)(undrained)
1 medium fresh tomato - optional
1 (1.25 ounce) package Taco Seasoning
2-3 whole skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts

Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Tortilla Chips

1. Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and canned tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Cover and set crock pot on high for 6 hours, or whatever you have time for really.

2. One hour before cooking time is up, remove chicken breasts from the soup and shred them using two forks. Stir in the shredded chicken along with the chopped fresh tomato if you want, and continue cooking for the last hour. You can also add a cup of water if you'd like more broth in the last hour. Serve topped with shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, and tortilla chips, if desired.

Notes: I didn't have any black beans, so I just used red beans...but black beans would definitely add some color variety. Also, I used can corn instead of frozen corn. I threw in a cilantro bouillon cube and a chipotle bouillon cube (a new find at Walmart - only like $1 for 20 cubes). And I also put in some carrot puree and it blended in like a charm!

P.S. This recipe is courtesy of Emily W.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight Adventures

So, lucky me...I got to see Twilight two times yesterday and it didn't even technically come out until 12:01 am this morning.

I went to a special premiere showing yesterday evening in South Jordan at 6 pm. My friend's mom works at Allyse's Bridal (they are the one's who rented the theater to show Twilight), so we were able to get tickets.

Here are a bunch of fun pictures of all of the great girls that I got to see this awesome movie with!

Several of us made some fun t-shirts to wear to the show that said, "I Heart Twilight". Don't ask us how long they took to make... we went through a couple of different versions before we settled on this nice simple style.

Dinner after the movie at Red Robin. There's nothing like a huge burger and bottomless steak fries when you are STARVING! I ordered the Sicilian burger and it was AMAZING!

Here is a picture of me seeing it for a second time in one day for the midnight showing at the Scera Theater with Suzanna and Jessica....can you tell we're a little tired?

So, the conclusion is I love the books for the most part and I loved this movie for the most part. You can tell they were hurting for budget in some parts like with some of the special effects. But, I thought they casted the parts really well and that it was romantic and exciting. It makes me want to read the book again. I'm also excited for the next movies. I heard that they already signed contracts to make movies of books 2 & 3...we'll see. Anyway, bottom line: I would recommend seeing this movie.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Puree - Hooray!

Today I took our Halloween pumpkins, that we never ended up carving, and I made pumpkin puree!

They went from this:

Then into the oven like this:

Then into blender like this:

Hopefully they will turn into wonderful things like pumpkin pie supreme and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Clam Chowder Recipe

Clam Chowder

1 cup chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped potatoes
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 (6.5 oz) cans of clams
1 1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half and half or whole milk

Directions: Chop vegetables (onion, potato, celery) and put in a large saucepan. Drain juice from clam cans into the pan with the vegetables. Add enough water to barely cover. Simmer covered, over moderate heat, about 20 minutes or until done. In the meantime, melt butter in a different pan; add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to make a roux. Add milk and stir until thick using a wire whisk. Add undrained vegetables to the cream mixture along with the clams and heat through. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar.

Notes: I used whole milk (I never just have half and half on hand) and it worked great. Also, this soup tasted even better the next day when the flavors had a chance to really come through so you may even want to make it the day before you are going to serve it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 5 - We Have Arrived

So, I can now say that Jane is officially potty trained. We are almost to the end of day 5 and she didn't have any accidents yesterday or today. Well, she had a little one yesterday and a little one today, but they were both my fault because we were out and I wasn't totally prepared. Also, when I say no accidents I mean no number 1 accidents...we're still mastering number 2, but she's even pretty good at that.

Yesterday (day 4) felt like a miracle. Day 3 hadn't been that great and I was almost going to quit, but I heard that if you can get through day 3 that you can do it...apparently it is common to want to quit on day 3. Anyway, I'm so glad that I didn't because she totally had it all figured out on day 4. We even went to the store (to pick out some new fun potty treats - jelly beans and Starbursts) and I put her in a Pull Up so that I didn't have to bring another outfit if she had an accident. She went to the bathroom on the potty at the store and she also didn't even pee in her Pull Up once.

I worry because Pull Ups must seem like diapers to them. But I've really been stressing to Jane that Pull Ups are special sleepy time panties or panties we wear when we have to go on big adventures...and that we still need to keep them dry, just like normal panties. Anyway, it must have worked.

Today has been equally as great as miracle day #4. Jane has been going 45 minute to 1 hour stretches staying dry and she goes to the bathroom every time we sit on the potty. Also, yesterday she came up to me and told me she needed to go potty, which she had never done before and I was thrilled. I hope she keeps that up, because for the most part I am just telling her that it's time to go after it has been a decent amount of time (I'm getting pretty good at gaging when she will need to be going again). Anyway, I am so absolutely excited that potty training is not a hoax...and that it actually works. I hope that Elmo potty show gets here soon :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bye Bye Diapers!

So, some of you have been wondering why I have been a little MIA lately and I assure you I have a very good reason. I am happy to announce that I just finished day 3 of potty training with Jane and things are going pretty well. I think that if things keep improving as they have been, that I can officially say that Jane is all done with diapers...I hope I'm not speaking too soon. I know that there will be some rough times ahead still and some set backs, but I'm hoping that the hardest days are over...

So here is the current bathroom setup:

Jane loves using the new Dora toilet seat instead of a potty chair. Also, the baby gate has been a big help because it keeps Maren out and Jane in. You'll notice that I've got the Clorox wipes handy for quick clean ups. Also, we now have a stool in front of the sink as well so that Jane can climb on and off the toilet by herself and up and down from the sink to wash her hands all by herself.

Here's a summary of how things have been going so far:

Day 1: We sat on the couch most of the day watching movies. Jane was sitting and a folded up towel (to make accidents less messy) in a t-shirt and her princess underwear. I would sit right next to her and every two minutes ask Jane if she was staying dry. Then we would set the timer for 15 minutes after every time she went to the bathroom on the toilet and for only 10 minutes if she sat on the toilet without going. She wears "sleepy time panties" aka Pull Ups while she naps and at night. We had about a 50% success rate over all and it felt like we were in the bathroom ALL DAY!

Day 2: Similar to Day 1, with a few improvements. She had fewer accidents over all and she didn't have to only stay on the couch, meaning she could get up and play without having too many accidents. The other improvement is most of the times that she went to the bathroom on the toilet, she would go pee as soon as she sat down instead of just eventually going after sitting on the toilet for like 10 minutes, which showed me that she was learning how to hold it.

Day 3: We had a bad morning, but then it got a lot better as the day went on. Jane has gone number 2 on the toilet a couple of times throughout these three days which is exciting. She went for stretches of 30 to 40 minutes staying dry. She still had several accidents today, but I'd say she had about an 80 - 85 % success rate. She always does a great job of helping me clean up her accidents and she has fun picking her potty treat after she has a successful trip to the bathroom. I ordered an Elmo potty video and I told her the Potty Fairy has a present for her as soon as she can go all day with no accidents. Now I know Jane doesn't exactly know what all day is, so the "Potty Fairy" will just give it to her soon once she is doing a really great job.

Anyway, wish me luck and let me know of any tips or advice you may have. Thanks to everyone who has given me advice and pep talks so far. I'm sure I'm going to be needing more. Hopefully life will be getting a little more back to normal now, and I'll be able to keep up on my blogging.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Green Tomatoes?!?!

That's right, green tomatoes three weeks ago = yummy salsa three weeks later :)

I picked all of the tomatoes off our plants a few weeks ago right before that first freeze and I brought them inside to ripen. Here is a picture of them about a week ago:

On Monday night I decided it was time to make it into salsa (I needed a project that night because Brad went to the Metallica concert in Salt Lake which he got free tickets to because he is in the military). Anyway, I reviewed several recipes and consulted with my canning partner, Lara, and we came up with our own version.

Fresh Tasting Canned Salsa!

12 cups diced tomatoes (I didn't peel them)
2 cups of chopped green peppers (about 2 medium peppers)
2 cups of chopped onion (1 large onions or 2 medium ones)
6 cloves garlic (or 3 tsp of minced garlic)
1/2 - 2/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (not packed)
1 tsp cumin
salt to taste
jalapeno peppers (optional - used for adding spiciness)

Dice it all up (there's a lot of chopping in this recipe) and mix it together. You can cook it together for awhile and I think that would help thicken it up, but I didn't cook it at all and mine tasted great. Pour into canning jars and process in a water bath for 20 minutes.

Speaking of chopping, I hate cutting up onions because my eyes burn and I cry uncontrollably. So, once I saw an anti-crying onion trick on a TV show (Veronica Mars, awesome show!) and I tried it and it works! All you have to do is hold a spoon in your mouth (upside down so that the pit of the spoon is on your tongue) and there will be no tears. It seems to good to be true, but it worked for me. Thank goodness!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Recent Sewing Projects

I've been doing some sewing lately and am now done for awhile, but I thought I'd do a post about some of the fun things that I've made.

I made some cute Dora the Explorer blankets for both of the girls for Christmas presents...

I also made each of them a tutu; one pink and white, and one purple and light purple.

Here's a cute picture of Maren playing in her little tutu.

Ok, so not all of my projects were sewing projects. This is a fun little book bag that Jane and I made together by ironing on the butterflies and then painting around them with sparkly puff paint.

This cute skirt used to be a strappy dress, but it was too short to wear comfortably. So I cut off the top and put in a waist. Now it is a great skirt that is nice and long. I just love the's so funky!

I was having trouble with my shower curtain getting gross so fast and needing to be washed all of the time flash: it was too long. I don't know why I didn't really figure that out on my own. My mom came to stay with me and noticed the problem and suggested that I just cut some out of it and then sew it back together to make it shorter. I would have just cut off the bottom and then re hemmed it, but the bottom is specially weighted to keep the curtain down. Anyway, this solution has worked like a charm! Thanks Mom!

I got this idea from my friend Jessica. I just took a blanket that I already had and cut it in half. I then sewed it back together with two pieces of ribbon inside of the seam so that the blanket could be tied to the handle of the car seat.

This way there is always something covering your baby and it's not falling or getting in the way. We obviously aren't even using our baby car seat right now, but it will be nice to have with our next baby.

This is just a silly little quilt that I made out of a bunch of fabric scraps that I had...a silly but fun project. Some of you may know the origin of the fabric scraps, if you do this should give you a little laugh :)