December 30, 2008

So for those of you who didn't know. Seattle had more snow than it's had since 1990 the last few weeks. Church was cancelled 2 weeks in a row, businesses were closed, etc. People were all frustrated by the lack of plows, the fact that our eco-friendly solutiuon to the snow was sanding roads instead of salting, (that and some soy-based product) and that Western Washington was ill-prepared for snow. Well - to all that I say you can always move. This is the coast not some flat prarie, plowing tall hills is a lot more difficult (in some cases impossible) and having a ton of plows sitting around rusting in our frequent rain, waiting for the rare occasions (every few years) they are needed is wasteful. Besides, if you're well prepared at home, what's wrong with a snow day or two? Get out and play in it!

December 28, 2008

I'm a long time fan of stuffing. Here at my house we eat it more often than Christmas and Thanksgiving. Way more often. Although up until a few years ago that wasn't so. One reason we eat it more is because I use it in recipes to make delicious and hearty meals. That and my little monkey loves it. So for those of you who just used your first or second package of stuffing this year you have been missing out. If you're making your own stuffing (and no one makes it like My Daddy does) a huge hurrah to you! But you may want to look into this for the rest of the year.

Tonight I am making the "Easy Chicken Bake" (Hearty Meals Section) with yet another package of stuffing. We're almost out again. Time for another trip to Costco. One of our favorites is to make the Meatloaf recipe from the site and use it for meatballs instead. I substitute Italian Salad dressing for the BBQ sauce often.
So go ahead and check out the few recipes on Stove Top's site and then do your own searching and variations!

December 27, 2008

So in the gift exchange this year my son got one of my nieces. The girls both got American Girl dolls last year for Christmas. This year I thought I'd surprise her with something for the doll. So I checked out the American Girl Magazine. There was no way I was going to buy anything in it. I could barely afford the clothes, let alone anything else. So I decided to find something else. The next day I was at D.I. browsing through the toys when I noticed a large Jewelry Box on the end of a shelf near me. I couldn't pass the opportunity up. $6 later I had yet another re-purpose project.
Jewelry Box becomes Doll Armoire.
The process was long. I sanded a bit and painted, but it took several layers. The brown was just so hard to cover. I put new fabric in the top and the drawers as well. A gloss coat for protection and all back together. I think it turned out fabulous. My niece loves it.

The day before Christmas I actually played Santa's Helper as well and sewed my other niece bedding for her new doll bed to match the armoire. It's absolutely adorable. I'm waiting for a picture of that.

December 22, 2008

I've been using my Adobe CS3 for all sorts of things this year. I'm so glad we got it last year for Christmas. I love InDesign for making my cards and invitations. I've also used Photoshop for a lot of photo editing. I've also tried out several things in Illustrator. Saturday I found a paper that I really wanted for Scrapbooking. But I didn't want to pay $10 to download it when I could possibly design it myself. I had to give it a try. Last night I started, but didn't get very far into it before I had to quit. So today I have spent hours perfecting this paper. Here's my first 12x12 design! I named it Staccato - all those theory lessons are finally paying off! (Just kidding Mom, you know I actually do play my piano.)

December 19, 2008

We're in the process of refinancing so Interest is on the brain. So I discovered a new tool to play with: The Early Mortgage Payoff Calculator It blew me away when I tried out our numbers. For example and extra $100 a month would save us over $50,000 in the end. I understand Interest, Rates and everything else, trust me. But I'd never really played around with the numbers before. Let's just say - This Little Family is going to be doing some serious budget evaluation in the next few days.

"Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours. … Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you." - President J. Reuben Clark Jr. Conference Report, Apr. 1938, p. 103

December 16, 2008

"Last Sign of Fall"

I decided to enter the Greeblemonkey Photo Contest. Not that I think i will win. Come on, as if I had that kind of luck. No, this is just for fun. It does mean however that I'm re-posting a photo you've all seen. Unlike the former post, this does not have the mask around the edge. I must confess, I'm still impressed by this photo. For SOOC (straight out of camera) I didn't know my little camera had this potential.
I must confess - I don't win anything very often. I don't even enter sweepstakes or draws very often because I used to enter them all and then not win a thing. Talk about disappointing. So yesterday I was sent to a sweepstakes in a blog I read. It's at 2Modern. So I was really surprised when I checked my e-mail and saw that I one Monday's prize. Maybe it's because I'm getting older. Or maybe they found out I just had a birthday! Whatever the reason I am glad that for one day I got lucky.

Hurry on over there everyone and enter to win the other items. Stay and check the site out too. This company has a lot of cool things.

December 15, 2008

December 12, 2008 I pull up the blinds to let in some sunshine. It's 1pm, my son is napping, and I have a chance to run and grab the camera to share this rare moment with all of you. This beauty ran away right after I took the shot.

My friend decided to tag me. It's taken me over a month to post this. I'm not sure she'll tag me again at this rate. I think the only reason she did was to get more info to mock me with.

Crazy 8's:

TV shows I love to watch:
  1. Secret Millionaire
  2. NCIS
  3. The Mentalist
  4. Without a Trace
  5. Wizards of Waverly Place
  6. Murder She Wrote
  7. Mystery Woman (Hallmark Channel Show)
  8. Jane Doe (Hallmark Channel Show)
Favorite Restaurants:
  1. The Cheesecake Factory
  2. BJ's
  3. Tucanos (Ipanema's the closest around here)
  4. Chili's
  5. Chevy's
  6. Macaroni Grill
  7. The Spaghetti Factory
  8. Olive Garden
Things that happened today:
  1. There is still snow on the ground
  2. I designed a new background for my private blog, and couldn't post it yet
  3. I read some blogs
  4. I started sorting things in my craft room
  5. I ordered a Christmas gift for my parents
  6. My son kept unplugging and plugging in the Christmas Tree
  7. He also found a fan while I was sorting things in my craft room, snuck into another room, closed the door, and I found him attempting to plug it in - luckily he was trying the phone jack instead of an actual outlet as the fan is not child safe
  8. Ate cookies my friend baked us - Yummy
Things I look forward to:
  1. Going to Canada for Christmas
  2. My husband having a week off then
  3. Seeing my friends this week
  4. Actually getting my hands on my birthday present
  5. Closet Organizers
  6. A clean garage (not looking forward to cleaning it though)
  7. My husband getting home tonight
  8. My sons nap today (I have so much to do while he's asleep)
Things on my wish list:
  1. Organic Cotton Pin-tuck Comforter and Shams (Natural Color)
  2. Red Curtains for my bedroom
  3. Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian DVD
  4. Wii Fit
  5. Oscar Quilted Bedding for my Son's room
  6. A rug for the living room
  7. Some new ottomans, or just recover the ones I have
  8. Paint the main floor bathroom

December 14, 2008

Thinking of doing Holiday Cards still? I just finished mine today. Some of you can view them here. Anyhow, I found a web-site that has free photoshop templates for Holiday Cards. The Front and Back are already made, you just need to add your pictures. For those of you interested in the templates, you can find them here. If you are friend or family of mine, I would be willing to do them for you and send you the high-res .jpeg file for you to e-mail, post, or print wherever you choose. Just go to the site and see if you like one, then e-mail me your choice, and your pictures.

No, this is not a confession that I am in fact a millionaire. I wish I was. That way I could be as giving as the people in this new show. It is one of my new favorite shows. You only need to watch one episode to understand.

Fox's New Show: Secret Millionaire
In honor of the snow all over today (I can't believe it cancelled church) I am posting some recent pictures of mine. These are pictures I took of the this fall. I must say it was the most beautiful fall I think I've ever seen. And these pictures honestly do it no justice.

My backyard...

I honestly was struggling with the idea that Christmas when last weekend we attended the Christmas Fair and the trees at the fairgrounds looked like this.

December 9, 2008

While I continue to be truly proud to state this fact - I am ashamed by the current political state of my country. Seriously, I'd say I'm in shock over it all, but almost 7 years ago I knew my country was headed this direction.
Last Friday the Prime Minister froze Parliament. That means there will be no political action taken for Canada for a few weeks. What seems even more crazy is the reasons as to why he did it. As a savvy economist he was making cuts in the right location - pulling some (not all) of the funding that goes to political campaigns. An excellent choice from my standpoint. Why someone's tax dollars should be funding a party they don't support (or respresent their opinions) is beyond me. Anyhow, about 6 weeks after Stephen Harper's re-election as Prime Minister with a minority government the craziest political move I have ever seen has taken place. (Note: I saw 7 Presidents in 2 weeks during my mission in Argentina and this seems crazier to me.)
Stephen Harper is Conservative. The two other main parties Liberals and Democrats formed a coalition with the Bloq Quebecois (a separatist party). In the coalition they proposed to make one of their leaders the new Prime Minister without re-elections. (All apparently perfectly legal.)
In the past it is common for a vote of non-confidence from the majority of Parliament to force re-elections, but never has anyone tried to take over the Prime Minister's position by the current means.
The 3 parties in the coalition can say what they want - accusing the Prime Minister of running and hiding to avoid getting ousted was not his intention with the Parliamental Freeze. I think his true purpose was to allow Canadians the time to become aware of the situation and react to it. I personally am shocked that the Liberals and Democrats would align themselves with the Bloq Quebecois for power. Can they really say you're representing the people that voted for you when you're joined with a party whose goal is to separate form a unique nation out of Quebec? I guess it spells it out for us though. Power and Greed rule the nation.
To Stephen Harper I say excellent choice in freezing Parliament. My only hope is that by the time it starts back up again the true voice of the people is spoken for - not the voice of Power and Greed.

November 13, 2008

With so many people going giddy with anticipation, I must say I'm very skeptical about the movie. I loved the Twilight series. The author is talented and creative and I enjoyed reading it. If you ask my opinion on the books, I'll admit to having specific things about each novel that I did not appreciate, but I'll tell you that overall I really enjoyed them.

When it comes to the movie however, I'm not sure I want to watch it. Let's just say, the trailer made me feel like the movie would be a complete let-down. Let me explain that. I have a very specific visual of the characters, the locations, and the events in the book. (That's what reading is all about.) But watching the trailer, I already felt that it was not a good portrayal of the book. (At least, it's not the way I would portray it.)

So - when I recently saw this spoof on the trailer I found it hilarious. Some, I am sure find it a mockery of a totally awesome movie. But that's the point. I feel that the movie will end up being a mockery of a totally awesome book.

November 10, 2008

I better have a little girl someday because I already see things and think about making them for a daughter. This is one of the cutest girls rooms I have seen lately. I'm going to use it as inspiration for my sons next room. (Except it will be cars, trains, and planes as the theme.)

Check out the room here on Cup of Coco's Blog. The details in this room are amazing!

October 28, 2008

Are you a Disney Fan? I am. Then again, how could I not be with my in-laws?! Then this Disney game is sure to please!-I'm sure it's fun to build too. It's a free download for this week only. Enjoy!

October 17, 2008

Is it really that hard for people to understand childhood? I mean, I've had several occasions where the presence (and possible misbehavior) of my child was the end of someone else's world. Today's experience is just one of many such shocking occasions.

I was at Earthwise Building Salvage in Seattle. My dear son was in his stroller, behaving well. Once he finished his bottle that changed. He made some complaints (small squeals) of disapproval over still having his bottle. I quickly took it and put it away. He settled down for a few minutes, then boredom ensued. I mean, a place like that with so much eye candy really requires he be out of his stroller, right? NO! So I quieted his protests, and continued around the corner. Seriously though, on a scale of 1 to 10 his screaming was a 2. Trust me, I've heard the whole scale. But just as he got noisy my cell phone rang. My dear husband wanted me to drop in at his office. So I am chatting with him for a brief minute.

THEN I noticed her. A slightly older (50-60 years) lady, dressed decently enough, glaring at me and my son from 15 feet away. First it was a glare, then when my son squealed again, it was full on stare down. Then somewhere within her she found the audacity to speak to me:

Lady - "Does your son HAVE to Scream." (I wish you could have heard the venomous, challenging tone in her voice. At that very moment I pitied her offspring while doubting the fact she had any.)
Me - "Yes." (And then quickly back to my husband on the phone.)
Lady - (Quite aghast at my response.) "I did NOT come here to listen to your son scream. You should quiet him."
Me - (Completely disgusted by her at this point. Plus my son had squawked twice, and was now quiet.) "I'm sorry but if you are offended by my son you should leave, because I'm going to continue shopping."

At this point, to avoid further altercation I quickly wheeled my son around a corner, but not before noticing an employee pop her head around the corner to catch a glimpse of us. I finish my conversation with my husband quickly and wheel my son over to the window panes that I planned to purchase. My mind is racing. I've experienced things like this before. Will the employee try to respect this customer and ask me to leave? Great. Why did I even respond the way I did. (And yet, I was secretly applauding the fact that I stood up for myself for once.) Oh well, I figured I'd make my purchase and run.

Then, not at all surprisingly, the employee approached me. Not at all timid in her approach. I'm nervous. I'll admit, things like this have gone awry in the past.

Employee - "Oh my gosh, I am SO SORRY."
Me - (What the heck? Not quite expected. Let's run with it.)
Employee - "I can't believe anyone could be so rude."
Me - (I know, I think that lady had major issues. Wait, you're siding with me?) "I know, I was rather surprised myself."
Employee - "I'm seriously so sorry, I can't believe that. I asked her to leave, and not to come back."
Me - (Gasp, What?!) "Oh, wow, OK. I'll admit, I couldn't believe she would say that to me."
Employee - "Me either, I can't believe she was like that, your son was really not bothering anyone. And he's so cute." (Smiles at him.)
Me - (Wow! This employee is more shook up then I am.) "Oh, you would be surprised how rude people can be about children and them making too much noise."
Employee - "You're kidding me. I can't believe that anyone could be that way about kids."
Me - "Me either."

At this point I showed the employee what I wanted to buy. She carried it all to the till for me, rang me up, and helped me load the car. The whole time, she's in shock and can't stop talking about how rude that lady was.

After I load my son in the car and start to get in myself I see that the employee has not made it very far. She's telling a co-worker about the whole thing. She's still in shock over it. He looks up at me, and yells "I'm so sorry about that." I yell back "It's OK. Oh well, I'm over it, thanks though. I just hope she (the employee) can get over it and have a good day." to which he replies "Too late."

I pull out, thinking over the whole situation and remember the General Conference talk on laughter. No, I won't let it ruin my day. I will just laugh over the great story. I will also remember the fabulous service I received at Earthwise and continue to return!

Grant it - if my son had been having a full on temper tantrum in the store, I think the only right thing in that situation is for me to leave. But remember, these were little squawks.

So to the old adage "Children are to be seen but not heard." I reply "Children should be heard and not just seen." And my Mom, the education guru herself would say "I worry about quiet children, there is usually something wrong with them."

October 16, 2008

This post is especially for my friend Kelly, who has apparently been craving this since I took her some last week. This is a super easy to prepare recipe and a family favorite already. It's a variation on the Campbells Chicken and Rice Casserole.

1 can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup water
3 Tbsp Taco Seasoning (I usually eyeball this, so it might need more)
2/3 large can corn (drain if canned)
2/3 large can beans (drain if canned)
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves (I usually do 2 large ones cut up.)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

(I prefer this with black beans, but it's good with Pinto, Kindey, and others)

Stir the soup, sour cream, water, taco seasoning, corn, beans, and rice in an 11 x 8-inch (2-quart) shallow baking dish.
Top with the chicken. Cover.
Bake at 375°F. for 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Top with cheese. Let casserole stand for 10 minutes. Stir rice before serving.

October 10, 2008

I confess - I started this blog with doubts as to whether or not I would be successful at blogging. Somehow, it's become something I look forward to doing. I love to share my news, update my friends, show my latest creations, point people to things I find exciting, and ultimately record some of the day-to-day.

So in honor of my 50th post I felt I should share 50 things I love with you all:

Home Decor
1. Pure Red Dinnerware by Mikasa (Which I will probably never own.)
2. Band Saw Safe by Alex Schlegel
3. Fantasy Pumpkins by Hallmark
4. Thrifty Decor Chic Blog (A Girl after my own heart, home decor on a budget!)
5. TJ Maxx I know it's known for discount shoes and clothes but check out their home decor
6. Ross Dress for Less same as above
7. Sugar Molds at NapaStyle
8. Organic Cotton Pin-Tuck Duvet Cover (this will be my new bedding ASAP, natural color)

9. The Chemisette Handbag by Craft Apple
10. Monkenottokauhmen (Pronounced Monkey-not-too-Common) by Q.D. Patooties
11. Sophia Tunic at Burda Style
12. Kimono Top at Sew, Mama, Sew

13. Amusement Park by Jessica Jones
14. Digital Fabric Printing at
15. Heather Bailey her designs and her Blog

16. The first thing she ever said to him was "I Love You" Suzanne at Just Another Hang Up
17. Antique Cars I know some people dream about sports cars, or limousines, horse drawn buggies or even just a car with A.C., but I can't imagine anything more romantic to drive around in than an Antique Car.

18. Empanadas (I'll post a few favorite recipes sometime soon)
19. BYU Mint Brownies (Just in case you actually miss these.)
20. Pumpkin Chowder at Light Refreshments Served
21. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole by Campbell's (I love to make variations on this.)
22. Peanut Butter Cups

23. Scrapbook Layout by Leslie (not just this one, but it's a favorite)
24. Bird House on Kimberly's Blog
25. WallFlowers Decorative Vinyl Lettering
26. San Diego Zoo Crafts for Kids
27. Floral Arrangements I used to work in a flower shop.

28. Kali Leenstra Photography

Graphic Design
29. Adobe Creative Suite I would die without this.
30. Free Design Goodies links from Today's Creative Blog

31. Modern Circus Soiree and all other ideas at Hostess with the Mostess
32. Murder Mystery Nights
33. Fairs Summer, Fall, Craft, Christmas, you name it
34. Simply Doing Something - my version of Girls Night Out
35. Enrichment (I'm especially looking forward to Super Saturday)
36. Creative Keepsakes Scrapbook Conventions
37. Of course, I can't forget Date Nights!

38. Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa
39. La Boca and many locations in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Cuanto es que te extrano mi querida)
40. Canada - I am Canadian!
41. Leavenworth, WA
42. Lake Tahoe
43. San Diego

44. Argentine Tango
45. Ice Skating
46. Synchronized Swimming

47. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
48. General Conference

49. My Adorable Son
50. Last and Definitely the Most My Husband (Oh How I Love Thee)

October 9, 2008

This week I've had a little more time to work on things. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. I actually neglected cleaning my house during my son's naps in order to complete these.

My new diaper bag:I bought a $3 bag at Wal-Mart that was really quite ugly. It became the pattern. I changed the pockets (so they were diaper-bag worthy) and with a much better fabric choice - I think it's my favorite bag thus far. (I've had plenty.)

My new wreath:
This idea is actually not mine. I found it and copied it off someone else's blog - she has all the instructions there. I'm not sure if this will be my wreath or a gift to a lucky friend. We'll have to see if it works with my decorations!
Alright, that's not quite true, but it's sure how it feels today. We finally had our carpet installed on Friday! Goodbye scratchy stained, filthy, carpet and carpet bugs. Hello, soft, clean, all one color carpet!

I must confess, the color turned out different from what I originally thought, but it's still perfect to me. If only the new carpet smell would go away. Any suggestions?

October 8, 2008

The past two weekends I have been having fun at Garage and Consignment Sales. At the garage sales I mostly looked for toys. I decided that it's time to add new toys (you know the loud, obnoxious, exactly what will entertain your child for hours kind) to my back-up collection. In case you're wondering, that's the stash in the garage that you rotate when your child is bored and driving you completely insane. (OK, so it happens once in a while.) Anyhow - I had great success:

Garage Sales:

$5 Older Fisher Price Great Adventures Pirate Ship $20 on E-Bay
$5 Fisher-Price Drop and Roar Dinosaur $20 on E-Bay
$3 Hasbro Playskool Ball Busy Ball Popper $20 on
$5 Older Fisher Price Magic Castle $20 on E-Bay
$1 The Lion King Play Set $15 on E-Bay
$8 Old Navy Stunt Driver Costume (worn once and never even washed) $30 on E-Bay
$12 Children's Place Girls White Furry Winter Coat $25 on E-Bay (this was for a friend)

$30 solid wood desk (worth well over $100 and our favorite out of all new and used we've seen)
$1 Photo Frame (to fit 4 8x10 size photos)

Consignment Sale:

$44 4 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, 1 sweater, 2 pyjamas, and a swim outfit with the built-in life vest (all like-new condition, that's $3.35/piece)

Let's just say we saved a ton of money shopping this way! And we had a ton of fun.

October 3, 2008

My Mom and I were talking about General Conference this week as we look forward to watching it this weekend. She mentioned how every Conference she is uplifted and the messages are so wonderful but how come time for the next Conference it's almost like you're in Desperate Need of the Spiritual uplifting.
I feel like that today. I can't help but look forward to an awesome weekend learning from the leaders of our church. General Conference has always been something I look forward to. After the amazing talks during the R.S. Broadcast last weekend, I am sure we're in for some amazing talks. I have no doubt that the Desperate Need will be filled.

I will confess, the fact that we can watch Conference on BYUTV from home makes the 4 sessions a lot easier to listen to. Especially considering the fact that we won't have to try to keep the toddler entertained.

So to all those of you watching General Conference, I sincerely hope that you are uplifted as well.
Yesterday was probably the hardest day for me. Our little son got sick in the car as we dropped off my husband for work. The clean-up was no big deal, I'm almost used to that. It's just watching his poor little body go through all that.

In the afternoon we went to the doctor. I've been wanting to get allergy testing, and we went to a new Dr. yesterday. She had him at the lab pronto to get testing done. I think I finally found someone who will listen to me.

But here's the hardest part of the day: the allergy test itself. Luckily, it was not the skin prick but the blood panel instead. It nearly broke my heart in two to hold him there screaming as they drew blood though. I'm not so good with needles, so I told the nurse I was worried I might faint. She laughed, until she realized I was actually serious. I held up though, and I'm so proud of my little guy for how well he did.

Unfortunately, he's come down with something. Hence the getting sick in the car yesterday and all over his crib last night. It's so hard to see him in pain. I just want to reach into his body and pull the bacteria out (or virus). I know that sounds crazy, but I really don't want him to have to be sick ever. I guess you could say my Mother Heart is aching for him.

September 29, 2008

Last weekend we had some friends over for dinner and I decided to make a dessert. I made an easy Cheesecake. It's not the kind you bake, but it's really good none-the-less.

1 package Cream Cheese
1 Vanilla Pudding mix (or another flavor)
1 Graham Cracker Crust

I actually made the crust myself too: (It's so much better without all the added sugar.)

In a bowl blend the Cream Cheese until soft. Check the pudding box for how much milk it requires for the pie version. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of the milk with the cream cheese and mix. This is important to get right so that the cheese gets blended properly. Otherwise it's lumpy. Add the rest of the milk and the pudding mix, blend for the required time on the pudding package. Pour the pudding mix into the crust and chill. When I served it I topped it with Strawberries.

If you're brave try different pudding flavors. Lemon, Chocolate, etc. I'm actually going to try to make a Key Lime version. I'll let you know how that goes when I get around to it.

September 21, 2008

My husband and I got a (Universal) Bosch for our wedding from some dear friends of ours. I honestly can say every time I pull it out I am so grateful to them. I love it. I love the mixer and especially love the blender. I'm sure there are other blenders out there with such super abilities, but none that I have ever used. This one is awesome. It blends my 5 cups of oatmeal for cookies to fine powder, and the graham crackers too. It makes a smoothie in no time flat. It's just my favorite.

There has been one slight problem with this blender since we started using it though. The bottom is really hard to get out. REALLY HARD. As in, we've even tried pliers, and other things to try to pull it apart - to no avail. Just so you understand - this has been going on for almost three years. It wouldn't be such a problem but I prefer to have the blades and entire thing clean.

Tonight was the last straw. I pulled out the blender after a few weeks of down time. It had little dots of mold growing around the bottom ring. That was it! Absolute last straw. I tried again then handed it to my husband and made him try again. Not a budge. I was so frustrated. I considered my options: 1. Replace the blender. 2. Search for a solution. The second option seemed the obvious first step. So I googled the problem "Bosch blender how to get bottom off". To my utter surprise there were a lot of results. Seems many others have had the same problem.

So here's the solution: Pop the center out of the blender lid. Put the lid on the bottom, as you would on the top, and press down. The twisty part (not so good on technical terms here) should come up through the center of the lid a ways. Now twist the lid. It works fabulously. Trust me. It was apparently designed to work that way!

After nearly three years of wondering why anyone would make a blender so hard to take apart I finally figured it out. Yeah me! So to all you Bosch owners - when the bottom gets stuck use the lid!

September 19, 2008

No, not the flooring, or the baseboards, or the many small renovations going on around the house still. (Mind you we have ordered the carpeting.) What's finished was an idea I got a long time ago for a piece of artwork. I almost thought it would never come to fruition. I found a small piece of artwork some time ago at Deseret Book. It was some nature pictures with a small golden plaque that had my favorite scripture on it. I really liked it, but I wished the scripture were readable and that the artwork were larger. Aside from all that though, it was just too expensive for something that I only kind of liked. (Somewhere between $120-$150.)

Then one day I was at Target, and I found (I think) the exact same nature shots but much larger. It was $60! Now only the scripture was missing. I searched online for some time to get a matching frame, but to no avail. Eventually I caved and bought a second piece of the same artwork. With a little work (pulling out the pictures, getting glass from Lowes, gluing it in, taping the back, and designing, ordering, and applying the lettering) I finally have exactly what I wanted. It was about the same price as the original in the end, but the results are worth it!

I ordered the vinyl lettering from Rachelle did a fantastic job and got it exactly the way I wanted it! Thanks Rachelle.

I have a passion for Interior Design and crafts. It's not hidden at all, almost anyone who knows me at all is well aware of it. It seems I always have a project on the side burner. No kidding. During my years in University I think the hardest thing on me was suppressing my artsy side in order to focus more on the textbooks. I spent several years doing very little craft-wise. Since graduating (and adjusting to Motherhood) I have gotten back to my old love.
Unfortunately, my crafty side took over recently. I decided that instead of buying something for my husbands new niece, I would go all out and create something unique for her. I did go all out. I waited until I knew the nursery set they were getting, went and checked it out, bought the crib sheet and then headed to Jo-Ann's. I bought fabric and paper and then came home and started creating.

I used produce crates (small ones) from Win Co and redecorated them. Then I made a scrappy quilt, scrappy burp cloths, and out of left-over fabric I made some change table pads. (I have pads like them for my change table and it sure saved me having to wash the cover so often.)

I'm so pleased with how it all turned out!

September 16, 2008

"Gossip is the art of saying nothing in such a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid." ~Walter Winchell

Recently, someone I know has dealt with the underhanded blows of gossip. It has not just been about herself, but many other women whom she loves and respects. The experience has been absolutely distressing for this person. I'll confess, sometimes it is not easy to keep confidences shared with us, but I am not speaking of a small slip of the tongue. I am speaking of people who have truly made an art of gossip. "Hearts that are delicate and kind, and tongues that are neither..." ~ Logan Pearshall Smith

It astonishes me that some people do not have enough love in their hearts to keep their mouths closed. Whether or not the knowledge is true or false, there is no reason to share. It bothers me that some people need to verify the veracity of their juiciest tidbits before sharing them. Isn't it just easier to forget it and move on?

What is even more mind blowing to me is that these people usually lead very busy lives. They have children to care for, large homes to keep immaculate, and a group of "friends" to impress. (Can't give your friends anything to gossip about, right?) These people have charisma, and it is their best trait.

Serving in a leadership position in my church, I gained a lot of insight on the dangers of gossip. (I was Relief Society President.) I learned how much knowledge one could potentially glean all in the name of their calling. (I was all about knowing as little as possible.) Truly, it disgusts me that anyone in a leadership position would hold one of their charges in such disdain as to speak evil of them. A leader is a steward. They are called to be over a specific group of people, entrusted to them by Heavenly Father. Sometimes as one's leader you learn things about them in order to better help and serve them. That knowledge ought to be held in the strictest of confidence. And yet, there are leaders that feel it's their right to know everything and their blessing to share it.

So what of those that gossip? Hopefully they will learn to bind their wagging tongues, especially before it costs them their membership in the church. I love the counsel from the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants: "...Let your words tend to edify one another." (D&C 136:24) Oh, if only we could all do that. How much easier this world would be to live in.

*Side Note: This is not about someone living near me, just incase you were worried. I have the greatest friends and I hope they know that!

September 11, 2008

OK - So over a month ago I discovered this really cool site I was so enthralled by the possibilities of digital fabric printing that I signed up to wait for a Special Invitation. I thought about what I would print, what I would do, and was so overwhelmed by possibilities. I mean, my own creativity is my limit (it's no longer what's in stock at the fabric store). Then the other day as I scrolled through my e-mails I found an invitation for me from Spoonflower! Oh I was so excited, so thrilled! And then it hit me - I have to design something now. Not that I can't, don't get me wrong. It's just I have to narrow down all those ideas and choose something, and hope that I get it right. That is what overwhelms me and keeps me from litterally jumping for joy. Maybe I will once I've finished a design and see it printed. Lately I've been so dissapointed by the lack of lines that are perfect for little boys. I mean, practically all of what's out there is perfect for a cute little girly girl item. So that's where my plans are at now. Wish me luck!

September 8, 2008

Is it that I blogged about poor customer service or is it just my fate? I had 3 packages to mail today. I don't have boxes or stuffing, or anything like that at my house, (I'm not the Post Office) so I just haul all the items in the trunk of my car. Of course my dear son is along for the ride too. Don't get me wrong it's not that I don't have boxes at my house. There's always a ton in the recycle bin. But the problem is they're never the right size. Never.
Anyhow I arrive at Fed-Ex Office and load my son in the stroller, the items over-flowing from the bin below and head on in. I am quickly greeted by the delivery truck driver - hands full of packages - and he asks if I need help. I say "Yes" loud enough for the two ladies behind the counter to hear and continue "but I'm sure one of them can help me." as I look down at his full hands. He understands that I don't want to slow him down from his responsibility when there are employees there to help me. He says "Oh yeah, Sarah in the back there can help you." Maybe I should have stopped him then, or perhaps followed him out and gone someplace else.
I walk over to the boxes, expecting one of the girls in the back to come help. Yeah right. My mistake. A few minutes there and I've found a box about the right size (for 2 of the packages, I'm still not sure what I need for the bigger one though). Then my son starts fussing. I check on him, and another customer walks in and walks up to the counter. One of the girls in the back drops everything she's doing and comes to help the other customer. Umm... Hello? So - I grab the boxes and a few labels and go stand behind the other customer in hopes I'll get some service. The other girl in the back continues her activities back there oblivious to the third customer now standing behind me hoping to get some assistance as well. He finally goes and works on a computer. I pull out the address I am shipping to. Finally the employee assisting the customer notices me, looks at my boxes and says: "If you're shipping express you need the air bill, not ground." I reply I didn't plan to ship express. She says "Oh, well to ship ground you have to use a brown box or one from home." OK that was about it. There's not a brown box in the store that is the size I want. At least not that I could see AND for goodness sakes - do you think I'd load up my child and all those items into his stroller and haul it all to the store without having checked at home for a freaking box?! Whatever. I stand there for a minute and look at the boxes. There's not one the size I want. I look back, she's still taking her sweet time with the customer (who came in with packaged boxes - shouldn't be too hard) and now she's eyeing me like I'm a nut. I give up. I look back at her and ask where the nearest UPS is. She answers and I leave.
At UPS the employee got up from the computer she was working at as I walked in the door, got behind the counter, let me quickly explain everything, pull out all the items I had and divide them into piles for each package. She hands me a shipping bill, tells me I only need one because I have three packages, and starts measuring and weighing as I fill it out. Once I'm finished she says "So the cheapest shipping is $$. I am assuming you want the cheapest method, is that right?" Yup, she was right. So I pay. As I finish the filling out the addresses and a quick note for one of the packages she's in the back wrapping up one of the packages. As I leave, number two is about to be wrapped up. Oh, and did I mention she squeezed in some help to another customer who had his box ready, and another one with a question her co-worker couldn't answer? I know it's not rocket science, not even advanced math. But for me, it makes a world of difference when an employee does their job!
I've seen what Brown can do for me! Thanks UPS!

September 7, 2008

I know we all sometimes have buyer's remorse after purchases. I think in this consumer driven world it's almost a given. We spend so much time making decisions on what to buy and how much to spend - groceries, home decor, technology, entertainment, clothing, cars, houses, etc. I know of a few times I actually had buyer's remorse. But for the amount of things I purchase, I'm grateful to say I rarely regret the purchase. Normally I'm glad I purchased it.

I guess I don't experience the remorse often because I am a thrifty shopper, especially when it comes to home decor, clothing, and anything craft related. Maybe that is what caused my recent dilemma. Let's call it Non-Buyers Remorse (for lack of a more creative name).

Two weeks ago I was in a very awesome home decor store. One that is a little more expensive. I could buy their stuff, but I'd rather go there, be inspired and make something similar for under half the price. While there I found this glass tile artwork that was just perfect for a gift for someone. I mean, I saw it and automatically the person came to mind. It was perfect. But I didn't want to spend the money right then - I wanted to think about it. There-in was my mistake. Upon my return, it was already sold. Hence, Non-Buyers Remorse. I lament not having made the purchase immediately. Now I am scouring the Internet to find the same item, but alas to no avail. Has that happened to you? It's bothering me so much today. I really want that item now.

September 4, 2008

I know - some of you are wondering where I would fit a grand piano. I'm proud to say it took very little re-arranging. It's a "Baby" Grand - so it is much smaller than your regular Grand. And I got an amazing deal on it. ($5 on Craigslist! Wahoo! These cost $100 new.) Little Monkey loved it from the get go!

*Update, we've since moved it up to our loft area as decor. We have two little pianos and this one was a climbing hazard.

September 2, 2008

This project is one of my biggest ever. And yet it's one that I've heard my husband say he would be willing to do with me again.

When we got married we bought an old sofa and love seat. Together they cost $100. We could not afford more than that. But - they were hideous. This is the couch in it's former shape!

I'm not sure what the pattern was called in it's glory days - but to us it was Pastel Tex-Mex. We didn't waste time finding cheap slip-covers. I also found some cute napkins and sewed pillow covers for some cute decor.

But alas, as those of you with slip covers know - they are terrible to deal with. (At least, the unfitted kind are.) I was constantly stuffing the fabric back into place, pulling on it, smoothing it out. It was like sitting on your bed right after you finished making it. And it drove me mad. Mad enough to consider Re-Upholstery.

Most people say you should only reupholster something if it's vintage or sentimental because it's too much work or too expensive. These couches were neither. I just didn't have money for new couches. But I had enough for some discount Upholstery! So I decided to give it a try.

A trip to a local Home Fabric shop and I found some really nice green upholstery fabric for $3/yard! I bought the rough estimate amount using some online calculator to tell me about how much I needed. I think it was 27 yards. I know with taxes it was just under $100.

I made another trip to the BYU's library and checked out about 7 books on upholstery projects. During one of our road trips to Canada I read the books, narrowing down the pile of useful aides to about 2 books. I learned as much as I could from those books.

Then one day when classes were cancelled and I didn't feel like studying I grabbed the tools and started demolition. I pulled those couches apart (1 at a time) as fast as I could. The worst part was pulling out the old staples. My hands were so sore. My wonderful husband helped when he came home, and he helped with the next couch. Bless his heart for putting up with all my craziness.

While I had the couch completely apart, I re-enforced the back with Jute Webbing so that it would have extra support. This has been especially handy when the back cushions are off!

I used the old fabric pieces as patterns for the new fabric and began re-forming the couches. I changed the pattern on the cushions though. They were very rounded and I wanted straighter lines. I can't even begin to describe the difference the new fabric made so I will show you instead.

Here's the love seat in all her glory:

All together the re-upholstery cost $150. I bought new legs later (the nice bun feet style) and painted them black. Another $80. Anyone else out there amazed by how much those things cost? And that was a really good price!

Sofa & Loveseat: $100
Upholstery: $100 (Actually less)
Tools & Supplies: $50
Feet: $80

TOTAL: $330!

A few months after we finished my hubby and I saw a sofa like these at Pier 1 for $800 - just the sofa! Oh yeah - talk about saving $$$!

Here's the sofa:

Later, after all was said and done I found more napkins and made the red pillow covers. I also found the lace to put on them at Jo-Anns. I still can't believe how well they turned out for a first timer.

I'm adding a little update for the CSI Project folks. Just in case anyone gets ideas from this.

It's been about 3 years since I worked on these so do I have any regrets? Yes.

1. I wish I'd replaced some of the tack strip instead of using the old. It comes loose every once in a while and annoys me.

2. The lace on the red pillows. During a game once my husband was asked to describe one thing that his wife made that he didn't like. I believe he described these as "the bane of his existence". Ouch. It's actually because of the beads on the lace. Very Scratchy and annoying when you actually use them. I've bought new Joel Dewberry fabric to recover all the pillows. Pillows are decor but they should be comfortable too!

I can say I'm still pleased with the look, the color, and the overall durability of the fabric. We've had to wash the cushion covers many times so I'm really glad that I put zippers on all the covers. So much easier. We machine wash our covers and hang them to dry. Wondering how it looks today? Here's a picture from this morning. You may think it's faded, but not really. This was just taken in different lighting and with a different camera.

Couch Reupholstery

September 1, 2008

So I have to admit this blog began with all the intentions of complaining about the fact that customer service no longer existed. I've been seriously disappointed by the lack of service I've received in so many places lately. But alas, my blog has been foiled. I have encountered excellent customer service. I suppose that I should not be complaining - but you may find yourself surprised as I was by the time you finish reading.
Recently I have eaten out at tons of restaurants. Girls Night out, Anniversary Dinner, Simply Doing Something, Anniversary weekend away, and dinner out with my parents are just a few of the reasons I've been out. So here it is: BJ's, The Rainforest Cafe, Old Spaghetti Factory, The Blackforest Restaurant, The Copper Room, Wild Cat Grill. Have you lost your minds? You are restaurants known for top quality foods. I mean, everyone recommends you these days. So WHY did you not serve me well recently? I KNOW what some of you are thinking. You can't expect to enjoy an evening out with a 16 month old in tow. You can only try to blame my son for bad service at Wild Cat Grill, every other evening out he was in someone else's care.
SO I've come up with a theory. I don't drink alcohol. Could it really be that simple? I'm not sure. I've waited over 25 minutes at more than one of the above mentioned restaurants to even have my order taken. That's not because I didn't close my menu. It was closed most of the time. Have you noticed the trend too? Is it really that these servers are more concerned about how big of a tip they're going to get? Is it really that much different if I don't drink? I THINK SO.
Here's why: Servers automatically assume that because I don't order alcohol I won't tip as well (I mean, based on the whole percentage of your order rule, it's true right?) BUT then they don't serve you very well and end up getting even less of a tip because they didn't even try. It's a crazy theory I know, but I'm sticking to it.
As I've been thinking about the lack of customer service everywhere I've stumbled upon a few examples of excellent service.
Tina at The Rock - Wood Fired Pizza. Thank you for your prompt service, your understanding, your smiles, and for actually checking on us as you walked by. Both my husband and I enjoyed the difference good service made. Seriously, you made our evening more enjoyable. I know you said it's because you love people - but I think some of it has a lot to do with common sense too. Everyone wants good service.
Christina at I-HOP. Thanks to you for making our breakfast enjoyable. It was so refreshing midst your busy holiday morning to still receive good service. I know you'll be shocked to hear that just by asking me if I wanted water because I was out of milk I was impressed. I was - I sat in one of the above restaurants without a refill for my drink for 30 minutes. (At another place my husband and I were actually notified by our server after drinking our lemonades that they do not have free refills so would we like a water?!) OK enough venting - I'm talking about good service here.
And you know the craziest thing? My son was with us at both of the "Good Service" places! So I'm holding out hope that my most recent experiences eating out are not rare, never to be repeated experiences.

August 27, 2008

I can't even begin to explain how wonderful Harrison Hot Springs is. It's a place you have to experience for yourself. But let me mention just a few of the reasons why I love it there:
  1. It's only 1/2 an hour from my parents house so leaving our son with them overnight was so convenient.
  2. Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa (
  3. Harrison Lake and the surrounding luscious green areas - so beautiful.
  4. The World Sandcastle Competitions (
  5. The Black Forest Restaurant
  6. Desert, Dancing and Live Entertainment at the Copper Room in the Resort.
  7. The 98 degree pools and the enticing hot tub (pictured on their home page).
  8. The Spa - ahhh.....
  9. The free upgrade to a room on the top floor of the hotel with a breathtaking view of the lake. (Although I must admit a King size bed is almost daunting - it's huge!)
  10. The hike to Bridal Veil Falls.

I honestly can't wait to go back to Harrison. It was the most enjoyable, relaxing weekend and I miss it there already. I was honestly concerned about spending that much money on a hotel. I didn't want to walk away feeling like we paid way more than it was worth. I'll admit in the end I still think it was a lot of money BUT I also feel like it was worth every penny.

(I know, I know - some of you are thinking: "She's actually posting pictures? What?" In my defense I just loaded 3 months {translate: 369 pictures} worth of pictures onto the computer. So maybe other pictures will actually be popping up soon too...)

August 26, 2008

OK - these sites are just a few sites I had up on my screen today.... Handmade crafts anyone? I've seriously been considering selling my own crafts here. I wonder how much I should charge? I really want to order the soaps and candles this company makes. I mean - when it looks so good you want to eat it - how can you resist? Right now they only have the blog going - but here you will be able to order hand printed textiles. (I believe you will also be able to have your own design printed! How cool is that?) This company makes bridesmaids/formal dresses. You choose the top and the bottom style, the fabric, the color, and a few additional things. (They have 4 tops styles with sleeves!) The prices are amazing. This is perfect for weddings with several bridesmaids because you can reserve fabric bolts so the fabric for all the dresses matches perfectly. The other fun thing is all the bridesmaids could choose their own style of dress but match the fabric. I love ordering things from this company. I have a canvas picture of my husband holding our son on his Blessing Day with a poem I wrote. Tons of people have asked where I got it - this is the site. It's a great way to personalize something.