Saturday, December 25, 2010


I have two friends who make scotch-a-roos. If you don't know what scotch-a-roos are, your thighs are thanking you. They are absolutely delicious rice krispie treats with a layer of peanut butter and chocolate on top. Sam and I call them Kryptonite because they are our diet downfall. Consider these my Christmas present to you:

1 c. sugar
1 c. Karo syrup
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. rice krispies
1 pkg chocolate chips
1 pkg butterscotch chips

Melt sugar and syrup until bubbly. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter. Mix mixture with rice krispies. Melt chips and layer on top. Cut into squares and proceed to eat the whole pan.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Dinner Night at my House

Whenever I host gourmet dinner night at my house, I insist that it simply be called "dinner night." I can't guarantee "gourmet" but I can guarantee that there will be a dinner of some sort. This group has been getting together for at least 5 years and it is a blast (when it isn't your night to host.)

I had two objectives this year. 1. I wanted to serve a traditional Christmas dinner and 2. I wanted to avoid becoming Bobby. Enter a Costco ham. Delicious. The thing comes pre-sliced with a glaze. I used orange juice instead of water in mine and I think it turned out pretty good.

The table: I enjoy having a reason to buy tableware and it is fun for me to set the table. I borrowed my mom's Spode dishes and my grandmother's red glasses:

I splurged on these cute cloth napkins from Pier 1 and my friend Heidi loaned me these ornaments to use as napkin rings:

I used it as an excuse to finally get candy in my candy jars:

I served a yummy punch that I learned from my Thanksgiving Point cooking class. The punch looked festive with cranberries and cucumbers:

We started with a cheeseball and crackers (thanks Harmons!) then moved on to spinach salad, jello salad, cheesy potatoes, my sis-in-law's famous creamed corn, and rolls and honey butter from Texas Roadhouse. You've got to hide the evidence:

For dessert, we had an array of tarts and goodies from Kneaders. FYI--You can buy 20 desserts for 25 bucks (thanks for the tip Misa!) It was fun to cut these up and let everyone try everything. I didn't even try to pretend I made these:

The best part of the night was the gift exchange. All nine of us bring eight identical gifts (one for each of the other girls.) We had a really fun selection of jewelry, wrapping supplies, magnet boards, aprons, etc. It was fun to see what everyone picked out and we were all giddy opening all of our new stuff:

The favorite gift of the night were the aprons that Jaime made everyone. We are wearing them in the photo at the top of this post.

These little kitties were on my doorstep all day long. When everyone left at midnight, they were still out there. I'm not an animal lover but I'm not completely heartless. I couldn't let them freeze to death. So I got a box and a blanket and they cuddled in there for the night. PETA would be proud:

The next day, they were gone.


Holiday Beverage (Thanksgiving Point)

1 can limeade with three cans water
2 liter diet Sprite
fresh cranberries
cucumbers sliced
Mix and serve

Christmas Spinach Salad (Thanksgiving Point)

baby spinach
candied pecans (made with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup pecans and 2 Tbsp butter on the stove)
blue cheese, crumbled
orange pieces from little oranges (cuties)
pomegranate seeds (Costco sells the fresh seeds in their produce section)

2 T sesame seeds
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp minced onion
1/4 t paprika
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/2 c oil

Mix in blender. Toss with salad ingredients just before serving.

Easiest Cheesy Potatoes

1 bag "simply shreds" frozen potatoes
1 1/2 cans Cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
any kind of cheese (I like chedder)
crushed corn flakes

Stir together cream of chicken soup and sour cream. I like to shake in some minced onion. Stir in the frozen potatoes. Pour mixture into a 9x13 pan. Grate chedder cheese on top. Crush up corn flakes and put over the top. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Annette's Ultimate Creamed Corn

2 lbs frozen whole kernal corn (I like Costco's)
12 ounces cream cheese cut into cubes (can use low fat)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Spread corn over bottom of crockpot. Top with cream cheese cubes. Stir together remaining ingredients in small bowl. Pour over corn and creamed cheese.

Cover and cook on high heat setting for 2-3 hours.

Stir well before serving. Corn will hold on low heat for up to 2 hours.

Layered jello salad

6 (3oz) pkgs jello--3 red and 3 green

Dissolve 1 pkg is 1 cup boiling water. Divide that in half. Set one bowl aside. In other bowl, add three tablespoons cold water or add two ice-cubes. Pour into 9x12 pyrex. Let sit 30 minutes (give or take until it isn't jiggly.) Add 1/3 cup plain yogurt to other bowl. Beat briefly until there are not any little white specs. Wait a second for foam to settle and then pour over first layer. Wait as long as you want to add the next layor. Repeat and repeat.

A special thanks to Costco for the ham, Texas Roadhouse for the rolls, Harmon's for the cheesball and Kneaders for the desserts. Why cook when you can buy?

For more recipes, you can visit our gourmet dinner group's blog Cookbook Junkies.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This and That (shallow thoughts)

(Cute pic of Buster that has nothing to do with anything.)

The computer is back home tonight and seems to be working despite flying off the passenger seat onto the floor when Sam had to slam on his breaks on the way home. It still makes an obnoxious humming noise but I can live with it--I'm back to blogging!

Each one of these items could be it's own post but for the sake of time, I'm lumping 'em all together. (Gourmet dinner night will get its own post.)

1. Buster got tubes last Friday morning. Everything went well and he is doing fine. The funny thing is, when I took him to the ENT a couple weeks ago, they had me sit in a small booth with him so they could test his hearing. The nurse would say "Mitchell" over and over through different speakers in the room. Buster never turned and looked in the right direction even one time. I didn't realize until I got home that he would probably only answer to "Buster." They assumed he is hard of hearing and scheduled the tubes. Here he is ready for surgery:

2. Santa came early this year and I got a new coat and scarf. Love it:

3. I just volunteered to do a Sub-for-Santa for a Sudanese family that lives downtown. Am I the only one who completely stresses over these types of gifts? I think it is so sad that a 10-year-old girl is asking for a coat and boots for Christmas. The least I can do is find her the cutest coat and boots on the planet. I think I'm going to buy her something fun too. This project is going to be really good for my kids who have lists a mile long.

4. My mom and I took my kids to a breakfast with Santa at Thanksgiving point on Saturday. It was really cute and the kids had a great time:

Check out this elf:

Doesn't he look exactly like Will Ferrell? Ryan was so happy all the way home:

5. I am currently obsessed with the new Kneaders that opened off Bangerter Hwy. It has delicious food, nice employees and cute decor and stuff to buy. I am loving their turkey, cranberry, sunflower seed salad and peppermint brownie. Delish. If past is prologue, I will probably eat there once a week for a year and then turn my back on the place and never return. That's how I roll with food places.

Sammie enjoying the peppermint brownie after ballet class. My kind of girl.

6. Speaking of Kneaders, I ate there with my high school friends about a week ago. We haven't all been together in at least 8 or 9 years. We were missing Noelle but still had so much fun. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Don't I have cute friends...I'm the big one:

7. My friend Megan who now lives in VA brought me peppermint Jo-Jos and chocolate covered peppermint jo-jos from Trader Joes. Holy crap. Those babies are wicked! I'm in LOOOOOVE.

8. On a more serious note, I was deeply saddened yesterday to hear about Elizabeth Edward's death:

I liked her because she was intelligent and down to earth. I was always impressed with her grace and courage in the face of so much adversity in her life. She lost her 16-year-old son Wade in a car accident years ago, her husband John Edwards (who is a total tool) had an affair and fathered another child all the while she was battling cancer. She knew she would die and leave young children behind--the ultimate heartache for a mother.

Despite all of this, she was optimistic and grateful for what she had. She had these words (from the song Anthem by Leonard Cohen) painted on her wall:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Isn't that beautiful?

9. Back to the silly--Here are my kids in their Christmas pjs:

Yes, it drives me crazy that they are not coordinated. I have already bought their pjs for next year and they all match!

10. November and December have been one big binge-fest for me. Well, in all honesty, it started with the Halloween candy and probably won't end until after the girl scout cookies are gone. I feel nasty. Every night I swear I will do better the next day and then wake up and eat Oreos (or jo jos if I've got 'em) for breakfast. I need an intervention.

I can't believe we only have about two and a half weeks until Christmas. This time of year goes way too fast. This post has so much random stuff, I want to hit delete but I'm too lazy to do different posts, so it is what it is. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Like Anyone Cares

Just when I actually have some stuff to blog about--Gourmet dinner night, breakfast with Santa, random computer died. I am now fasting and praying that the dudes down at PC laptops can revive it. If they can, it will be my Christmas miracle--because who really wants to blow the wad on a new computer this time of year?

I'm blogging from Sam's laptop but I'll be awol the next few days. Expect some great posts from me when I get back, unless the computer is dead, in which case, this may be goodbye.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This is a shameless post where you all get to comment and tell me how cute my house looks. It only took me 10 days to get all of my Christmas stuff up. I love this time of the year but sometimes spending every evening doing my normal clean-up and then decorating is exhausting.

But I was excited to decorate this year because I got some new stuff.

New stockings and tree skirt:

The tree skirt is really just a quilt that I wadded up and put under the tree. The stockings are PBK and were my second choice. Last year, after Christmas on Amazon, I found this amazing deal on 8 red and white knitted TAG stockings.

I ordered them and then immediately emailed some friends and my mom and sister to brag about my deal. Yeah, I'm classy like that. When the stockings finally arrived three months later (they were back ordered) they were tiny--like little socks for cats. No wonder they were so cheap. I was devastated. I ended up sending them back and just buying my kids these PBK ones on Ebay. The kids are thrilled.

I also rigged up this stocking display in my entry:

When my mom and I attended our cooking class at Thanksgiving Point, we saw a cute bar with all these stockings hanging on it. My mom convinced me I needed to do the same for my house and she purchased the stockings at Roberts Crafts with coupons. (Don't be jealous Ashley.)

For the first time since having kids, I put up my olive wood Nativity that I bought in Jerusalem cough 13 cough years ago when I was in college. That makes me sound sooo old. Now that we have a piano, I felt like I had a safe place to put it where baby Jesus wouldn't end up in the Barbie house:

I remember buying it from this cute little man named Baghdadi. I gave him my wad of cash and he assured me he would pack it up and ship it to me. When I arrived home, my dad told me I was a total sucker. He said "you will never see that nativity." Low and behold, about 8 weeks later, an old beat up, taped together box arrived on my doorstep with this bad boy inside. It doesn't go with the rest of my decor (for about 1 minute, I considered spraying it white and rolling it all in glitter but decided against it!) I still love it because it reminds me of the Holy Land.

That's it. My five trees are up. My gourmet dinner night that I am hosting is this week (Heaven help me!!) and Sam has recovered from hauling a gigantic chair to the basement at my request. Tis' the season!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why I Can't Wait for My Golden Years

The ONLY thing that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other and trudging through life is knowing that one day, my kids will leave home and I will wake up and wonder what I'm going to do with my day. That day is years away.

Here is what my day looked like:

Sam is out of town (Don't come murder us--by the time you read this, he will be home.)

7:00 a.m. wake up and rush around to get four kids ready to go for the day (no time to shower myself!)

8:00 a.m. Dentist appointment for three older kids. Buster doesn't feel well and cries the whole time. Ryan screams bloody murder and refuses to get in the chair. Somehow at the end of the appointment, the dentist ends up holding Buster and the hygienist is holding Ryan and I'm empty handed. I don't know how that happened.

9:15 a.m. Drop Luke off to school.

9:30 a.m. Drop Sammie off to ballet

9:45 a.m. Go to my mom's house and drop off a Christmas tree (d0n't ask!) and proofread an invitation for her.

10:15 a.m. Pick up Sammie from ballet and pick up bagels because the kids are screaming for them. Ask for a side of butter. Realize as you leave the drive-thru that they don't give you a knife. Listen to the kids scream for butter all the way home.

11:00 a.m. Get Sammie ready for school. Help her make a birthday card for a friend. Nurse the baby.

11:30 a.m Sammie gets picked up.

noon-3:00 p.m. Blur of crying baby, nursing, crying two-year-old, cleaning up messes, laundry, phone calls.

3:00 p.m. leave to pick up carpool at school.

3:45 p.m. arrive home. My two good friends drop off their kids that I am babysitting while they set up for a church activity. Referee eight children for the next hour and half.

5:30 p.m. Drive all nine of us over to the church in my van and pray I don't get pulled over. Drop kids off to their moms.

5:45 p.m. Take baby to the doctor and find out he has another ear infection. Wait in the small room to see the doctor for 15 minutes while my four kids touch every surface in the room. Pray they don't get Aids. Listen to them fight over the crayons, the books and the rolling chair.

6:30 p.m. drop the prescription off to the pharmacy.

6:45 p.m. Come home and make breakfast for dinner. Feed the baby rice cereal in the bumbo while manning the stove and cutting up food for the older kids.

7:30 p.m. Go back over to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription.

7:45 p.m. Start helping kids with homework. Luke announces he has a book report due tomorrow. He hasn't finished the book.

8:30 p.m. Nurse the baby and put him to bed. Help the kids with their piano because they have lessons tomorrow.

9:30 p.m. Finish up homework, book report (he had to make a turkey out of paper, etc etc) and get the three older kids to bed.

9:45 p.m Relief Society president comes over to visit. Chat with her (She is awesome and it was actually really fun to talk to her.)

10:30 p.m. Call Sam and threaten to leave him if he doesn't get on a plane and come home tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real Men Eat Quiche

Tonight I cooked up the most nasty concoction my kitchen has ever seen. A quiche with waaaaay too much (frozen) spinach and mushrooms. The thing didn't set up properly and was slimy and slippery and stinky. I got the recipe from a cooking class my mom and I recently attended at Thanksgiving Point. It was delicious when we ate it there. But at home, something went horribly wrong.

Enter Sam. He was a desperate man. After his first bite, he said "not bad." Then after a few more bites, he admitted it was BAD. After polishing off an entire piece, he admitted it was horrible. But that didn't stop him. You can see how much he ate.

As bad as it was, he maintains that it isn't the worst thing I've ever made. When I asked him what was the worst, without hesitation he said, "the goulash you made back in 2002." He is referring to the time that I got a recipe for chicken rice soup from my mom. The thing fed like 100. We had vats and vats of it in our fridge. It wasn't good but we ate it for days. Ironically enough, my mom dropped off that very soup to us tonight and my kids loved it. Everything she makes is delicious.

To my gourmet dinner night friends: Don't be scared. I'm not making you quiche when you come in three weeks. I've begged Sam to make a bird again for me to serve that night. No dice. When he makes a bird, he has to babysit it all day and since GDN is on a weekday, he won't be home to do it.

I've learned from past experience. This year, I'm serving a Honey Baked Ham.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall Family Photos

I'm trying to see how much mileage I can possibly get out of these new pictures. I just posted them on Facebook today so you've probably already seen them.

My photographer friend extraordinaire Jill took our photos again this year. She is a miracle worker and managed to make us look decent. Check out her website here. If you live in Zion and want a very affordable, fun, laid back photographer, Jill is your lady. Drum roll please:

Which one do you think we used for the Christmas card?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekend Roadie

This last weekend, Sam and I took the kids on a little road trip to St. George. If you have read my other road trip post, you know how we roll.

Highlights (or really low lights):

Eating a greasy lunch at Larry's Drive-in in Fillmore, UT (Known to our family as Scary Larry's)

Stopping at the Chevron (with the Dairy Queen and the big white chair out in front) in Beaver because they have the best bathrooms according to Sam. He will deny this but he actually told me he thinks they have nice tile work.

Enjoying everything the hotel has to offer; Namely, jumping on the beds, watching tons of tv and abusing the complimentary breakfast--have you ever seen how much my kids eat?

Watching my kids fight over who gets to push the button in the elevator every. single. time. we got in.

Finding this outside the room next to ours (those are rose petals) Apparently someone was having a more romantic trip than we were.

Praying that my kids didn't wake them up at the crack of dawn.

Seeing this car in the parking lot--explains the rose petals! You gotta love the spelling on "married."

Taking our kids to run in their first race:

Having Sammie chicken out moments before the race and refuse to run.

Enjoying this huge indoor swimming pool at the local rec center.

Dressing Buster is the world's largest swim trunks and the world's tiniest top (I was short on time with packing and had to grab whatever I could find!)

Seeing this couple taking a snooze and wishing I could do the same.

Eating dinner at a Mexican "restaurant" that was literally inside a gas station. Sam read that they had great food so we tried it. Food was relatively good--Sam loved his steak torta--but the atmosphere left something to be desired. Why didn't I get any pictures!! Of course, Ryan spilled his drink all over the floor so we had to make a quick get-away.

Letting Ryan take his wet shirt off and just wear an open jacket with no shirt underneath the rest of the evening. I think we really impressed the workers in the Polo outlet.

Packing the car to the gills on Sunday morning and driving home. Look how happy everyone looks.

Don't say we aren't classy.