Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

I got 'em done!  Just in time!

So last year we dressed up to a Lord of the Rings theme.  My husband was Aragorn, I was Aarwen, and the boys were Hobbits (Sooooo adorable!!!)  But I made the costumes based on the Halloween I was used... the kind where it could snow when you go trick-or-treating... The kind where Ward Halloween parties are... inside...  We were DYING of heat!  The party was outside, after dark, but it was still really warm!

So this year, I planned accordingly!

The Tails....


Short Sleeved Shirts - Check!  
Shorts - Check!  
Simple - Check!  
Everyone thinks they are AWESOME - CHECK!!!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Check out a tutorial on these awesome costumes HERE

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Halloween is coming!  I have been working on out costumes off and on since I came up with the idea... back in February...

I started by making the costume for my nephew as a birthday present.

We loved it so much we decided it would be a sweet family costume.

I made part of it for my boys for Easter

Then another part was made for Mr. A for his birthday

And this week I have almost finished out the rest!

Our Ward Trunk-or-Treat is tomorrow...

I am out of stuffing to finish the last two parts (a trip to Walmart tomorrow morning!)

But then I will be done!

Full pictures to come, but a sneak peek is always fun!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Beef Stew - Crockpot Style!

I wanted to make stew, but wouldn't have time later in the day so I made it in the crock pot, sooooo yummy!

First I browned the meat on the stove.  You could do this in the crockpot, but I wanted a nice sear!


Add some onion

And Carrots!

After the carrots and onions had just a minute to get some food flavor from the meat and fat I dumped them in the crockpot and deglazed my pan with a can of tomatoes (from our garden!) 

While the tomatoes were getting all the goodies off the pan I chopped some potatoes and added those to the crockpot (raw)

Added the tomatoes and some water, until everything was covered.

Then I let it cook all. day. long.  About 30 minutes before serving I added about 2 packets worth of brown gravy mix to thicken and further flavor the stew.

It turned out sooooo good!  The meat was so tender it just fell apart in your mouth and it tasted incredibly delicious!

So I apologize, I realized while writing this post that I didn't actually give you any solid quantities.  Though I will try when I can, I don't cook by a recipe very often.  Over the years I have cooked a lot of food and read a lot of recipes.  The result is that I have a basic 'feel' for how food should be cooked and how to achieve the desired result.  My food rarely tastes the exact same twice, but it is generally really good!  I will try to give amounts when I can, but I would encourage you to try it for yourself!  If a recipe calls for a whole onion and that just seems excessive for your tastes, don't put so much in!  Don't like nuts?  Don't put them in your cookies! (trust me, I NEVER use nuts, and generally you can't even tell they're missing!)  Trust yourself!  Sometimes it will come out nasty, but more often I think you will find you love it more than before!  Good luck!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Potty Training - 3 days? Seriously??

A week before Mr. A's Birthday we decided it was time.  It was time to potty train!!!  I felt brave and strong and ready!  I had read lots of articles, I had given it a go two other times so I figured I knew what I needed to do!  I have seen several of those, Potty Train your Child in 3 days!  or How I Potty Trained my Son in one Weekened articles, so figured, how hard could this be!  I rolled up the rug (most of our house is tile), closed all the bedroom doors, gathered my cleaning supplies, and laid out the undies!  We made a sticker chart and I got the stickers ready!  At the time Mr. A was in to Robin Hood, so it is a money bag!

Day 1: I let him run around in nothin' but his undies... we went through almost all of the clean ones we had... about 7 pairs.  By the end of the day we were ALL sick and tired of the inside of the bathroom!  We had watched Daniel Tiger - Daniel Tiger Goes Potty at least a dozen times and the whole family can still sing the song,

If you've got to go potty, 
and go right away!
Flush and Wash
and be on your way! 

Mr. A had started crying and fighting every time we went to the bathroom, probably because we were going EVERY 15 MIN.  Yuck!

Day 2:  We took it easy and put on a pull up and went to the store.  We went to 'the party store' and got a goodie :)  Everyone enjoyed the door more and we actually had less accidents, yay! But we still have accidents.

Day 3: We settled into a routine, I asked about every 45 minutes if he needed to go.  Some accidents but a lot of success!  We got some 'Jake' stickers on day 2 which helped a lot.  We also instigated the possibility of 'peeing on the tree' in the backyard :D  Seriously, he is a boy, through and through!


Day 35: aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! We still haven't mastered this?!?!?!?!???  We finally gave up for a while and will get back to it...

So what happened??  I don't really know, but I do know this.

1 - Mr. A is PERFECTLY capable of 'holding it' 
2 - Mr. A is AWARE.  He knows when he needs to go.
      2a - Sometimes he chooses to ignore the urge
      2b - Sometimes he is preoccupied and doesn't notice
3 - Mr. A is NOT INTERESTED in using the bathroom!  He would RATHER do it in his pants.  He will generally tell me the SECOND he is done, but he just doesn't want to!

So, if you want advice on how to train your kid fast, don't ask me!  All I know is that Mr. A was not interested and thus not ready.  Wait for it, but jump when the moment comes!  He was interested about a year ago, but holidays happened and it just didn't happen.  Now he doesn't care.  

We have been back in diapers for a month now.

I want to try again and have been talking to Mr. A about it, but he still shows no interest.

If you have any ideas let me know!  I will let you know if I have any success!  Until then, back to the drawing board!

PS.  His sticker chart still hangs on the wall in the bathroom, full and then some, some places have layers of stickers :)  He did like the stickers ;)


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Decorations Begin!

I found these fantastic bottles... at the dollar store!  Wahoo!

I decided on the red one.  I figure I can use it for fall and Christmas, two holidays, one bottle.  Win Win!

But I want to use them un-corked.  But I don't want to loose the cork.

Problem solved!  I simply ran some ribbon (from my stash, but originally dollar store) through a quilting needle, drilled a tiny, starter-hole through the cork, and then tied it on!

I added some adorable flowers (dollar store!)

 And voila!  Super easy, super cheap fall decorations!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fall Decorations - Burlap Leaves!

I have this great container on my piano that I love to put fun things in for the holidays!  All summer it kind of sat there, sad, empty, and neglected.  So I figured for fall I might as well put something in it, since I can practically decorate for three months at once!

First I painted a piece of burlap I had in fall colors.  Totally random, no intentional pattern.

I found three leaves I liked online and cut them out
(thank you google search!)


Then I cut leaves from the burlap.

Scraps... couldn't figure out what to do with them, so they went in the trash.

Finished leaves

Then I hot-glued them on some branches from our tree out front, and stuck them in!

The container was actually originally full of cotton candy that I wrapped in jute (with a whole bunch of hot glue!).  I just change out the ribbon with the season!  All spring/summer it was a green ribbon, now it's a strip of burlap and some red lace (fall and Christmas, score!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Super Tasty Burritos!

I was reading a favorite blog of mine, Country Peaches, and she was raving about her favorite burrito recipe, so I decided to give it a try!  Of course I had to put a little bit of me into it too!

First: Saute onion and peppers!  I keep peppers, already chopped, in the freezer, saves time and money!

Some of the onions and peppers went in another pan for the pinto beans.

Some peppers went into the rice cooker along with garlic salt, butter, and chicken broth. YUM!

Some left-over pulled pork (originally cooked in the crockpot for 12+ hours, served with BBQ sauce and cole slaw!) and with the onions and peppers.

Rice done!

Beans are done!

Pork is ready!

Somehow I didn't get a picture of the finished burritos (probably too busy eating them!)  But this is my boys' version of the burritos.  I also added cheese, tomato, lettuce, sour cream, and fresh salsa!  Yum yum!  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

LDS General Conference!

As you may recall, I am a Mormon, and I'm proud of it!  Twice a year rather than going to our local church for Sunday services we watch what we call General Conference.  During General Conference we have the opportunity to listen to the Prophet and Apostles and be spiritually uplifted!  We can listen at many of our chapels, on TV (BYUTV) online ( on pretty much any device (BYUTV app), on the radio (in certain areas), or through various streaming devices (we used ROKU through the BYUTV station).  Obviously it is very important to us to be able hear the words that are spoken!  In case you are interested you can listen, watch, or read the talks given HERE.  I truly believe that these men and women that lead and guide our church and that spoke at conference last weekend, are called of God to help us to obtain eternal life!  Try it out for yourself!  Go listen!

Last October there was a fantastic talk given by Elder David A. Bednar, titled, Come and See.  

This is just a snipet, and if you do nothing else today, click on no other link from my blog, please, listen to this super short video!  It explains so much!

And if you have just a little more time, here is the whole video:

I hope that this will help you understand me, and others who believe like me, just a little bit better!  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Robin Hood Birthday Party!!!

My Mr. A has turned 3!!!  As anyone who has talked to him in the last few months knows, he is obsessed with Robin Hood!  We have probably watched the movie 5-6 times a week for a month now! yikes! (disclaimer, we're not big TV people, so most of the time it is watched in chunks over the course of a day or two)  I took the internet/pintrest for ideas, and I sort of found some ideas... so I pulled them all together and came up with this Totally-Awesome-Toddler-Robin Hood Birthday Party!!!

 First, a Robin Hood Shirt for the Birthday Boy!  See my post HERE for instructions!

Punch Board!  Basically we painted a piece of poster board ($Store!) green, traced a big cup, cut some holes, then we put red (apple tree) tissue paper behind and paper bags (cut short) with goodies behind them (glue stick)  Then the kiddos could 'punch' through the tissue to find a little goodie!

Nottingham/Sherwood Forest signs!  Basically just cut out of thick cardboard (like an inch thick!), then covered it in paper mache, painted brown, then wrote the words.  I figured the words didn't have to be perfect since it was supposed to look like a hand-done old-timey.  I then hot glued some jute-string to hang them :)

Tax collection box!  Just a small box painted brown!  Then little bags from some scrap fabric I had and some more jute that I attached for a string to tie them shut.  We filled them with a handful of 'gold coins' (pirate coins!) from our party store.  I used lace on one of them for a little girl that was going to come.  Each kiddo got to take one home!

For Goodie bags I just used brown lunch sacks and wrote their names with marker.  

Target cupcakes!  Green cupcakes, green frosting (Green=Robin Hood around here... Green Balloons = Robin Hood balloons) and these awesome chocolate targets!  See how to make them HERE.

Pull-string-Target-pinata!  See the instructions HERE!

For our family birthday party we made this awesome 'Robin Hood' birthday cake!  Basically just a bundt cake with more green frosting and chocolate targets and arrows!

The Kiddos had so much fun at the party!  

Happy Birthday Mr. A!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Grandma's Wash Stand - Part 4

I did some more!

So the wash stand had that white-with-gold speckles-counter top-stuff on it, that was old and scratched and, well, I just wanted the wood I figured was underneath!  So, being our garage generally hangs out around 95F in the summer the glue had softened to the point that it just peeled right off in some places!  for the rest of it I took a putty knife and our hammer and peeled off the rest!

Insert putty knife, tap with hammer, pull, repeat.

Bit by bit it came off rather easily!

And before I knew it, it was all off!  the glue however... well, that was actually easy too!

Remember the paint stripper I've been using?  Well, turns out it turns old, dry glue chunks into slime in no time flat!  the glue literally wiped right off! 

Guess what?!  Same beautiful oak under the top as everywhere else!  All I have left is a little bit of paint to remove and sanding!  More to come!!

Grandma's Washstand Part 1
Grandma's Washstand Part 2
Grandma's Washstand Part 3