Monday, August 30, 2010

Vegas and the Baby Whisperer Part I

Home at last! Me and Toothless were down in Tucson visiting Aaron's side of the family, our first road trip! There was great fun to be had but boy am I glad to be home!
Last week my sister Alyson came out and that was the highlight of the month:

Haha I think this pic is pretty funny. C'mon you can do it!

She likes looking at herself in the reflector underneath the mobile

Alyson the babywhisperer...M was so calm with her! She's a natural!

Her milk coma after she eats. Love it!

After church!

Can't get enough of this little girl :)

Asleep on is good.

Stay tuned for part II of our adventures!

Hope your week is starting off great!

<3 Jenna and M!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's that time of year, again!

Ah, color! You know what is in store when you see nail polish. Life, in general, just slows down when fingernails and toenails are involved. Which color would you pick?My daughter gave me a wonderful pre-birthday, "DAY" of celebrating....starting with my toes. Happy feet! And, a peek at the new flooring in the bathroom. Do my toes look one year older and wiser, too?
I loved slipping into these......perfect sandal wearing day!

And, we headed here. I do love a good Olive Garden meal. The chicken dumpling soup, garden salad, bread sticks and dessert...could not have been better .And, I had my daughter pose out front with our little "doggie-bag".After eating and laughing...and more laughing, than eating, we headed to a movie----and then, it was time for a little bit of shopping. Aly bought herself a new bike seat for her college bike. But, being a special day and all, I now have a new bag. Love the big beads on the left-side handle. Fits my stuff, which really means the basics that all women carry around.... and a "book".

And, we both have new bobbles for our ears-ha!All in all, we had a great day. Aly will be at college when my birthday rolls around, so, this was a very nice pre-birthday surprise. Much appreciated, Aly. Good luck in school and lets do this again. xoxoxoxo

p.s. Have since, cracked one of my toes. Not good. It is totally black, blue, red and swollen like crazy. Thank-goodness my toenails are still looking good!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's For Dinner!!

And to think this lovely dish started with me looking at a can of kidney beans...thinking about what I should make for dinner. I followed the recipe on the back of the Bushes Bean additional add-in's or deleting of ingredients.....sometimes I do that. But, not this time. It made a HUGE pan of chili-ha! I should have used my trusty crockpot. Next time.

Could not resist serving this Heartland Chili with a nice little dish of cornbread. Do you make cornbread from scratch or from a box? I am a little partial to Jiffy Cornbread mix since the Jiffy Factory is located in our town. But, sorry Jiffy! I do like homemade, from scratch, cornbread best. I use the recipe off of the Quaker Cornmeal container. Note...this recipe uses a small amount of sugar. If you are use to cornbread mix from a box, homemade will seem...somewhat bland. Remedy...mix some butter and honey together to make a nice spread for your cornbread.

1 pound lean hamburger

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 up green pepper, chopped

Cook all of these together until hamburger is good and done.

Add the following to the cooked ingredients.

2 cans (160z) dark red kidney beans

1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (11 ounce) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can tomato paste

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons chili powder

Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
When done, sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Other stuff.....this has a very strong tomato taste. It was a little over powering, to me. I tamed the strong flavor with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. I think I would have used taco seasoning instead of chili powder. I think my family just likes taco seasoning better than chili powder. Also, since we are in the "growing" season, i would use fresh corn off the cob and slice in tomatoes to replace canned. Ooh..and some sliced black olives would make this so divine.


Friday, August 20, 2010


I have been spending a little time getting to know my new washing machine this morning...sitting in the laundry room , book in hand, clothes quietly being washed. I am amazed!!!! You may be asking, why?
I have only owned one washer in 26 years. The spin cycle quit! Not good. Replacement parts alone were going to cost $250.00-$300. Pass! What's a girl to do? Kenmore.... got it! Craigslist again...$50.00, another it. Hubby swapped out parts into the newer nicer machine and "voila". Momma has a new washer. It purrrrrrrr's like a kitten. I may just spend the rest of the day in the laundry room reading and watching 2 weeks worth of laundry take a spin in the new washer. Such is my life! I am a lucky girl!

p.s. I even have a ECO Friendly cycle. Do you all have that on your wash machines?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buckets and a Birthday!

This has been so fun. For the past 2 summers, Cleanbeats has played for our Town's ''Sounds and Sights". Every Thursday night, throughout the summer, their are around 6-8 different musical groups that play all over town. Our town is a farming town, so, it is quaint, tidy and somewhere near magical, for me.

So, our son and his friends play on recycling buckets and boy can they play! You can find a Cleanbeats video from a few years ago on Youtube. Just search Chelsea Bucketline or click on the above photograph. Look it up and enjoy. They really have a fun and nice sound. And, this has allowed these boys to earn a little extra $, as well.

And, someone just had a birthday. I have to confess...first time my husband has had a pretty store bought cake for his birthday. It was one of those days, where we were being pulled in many different directions, and time was short, for everyone. So, I bought a snicker's bar cake at our local country-market.

And, picked a central place for all of us to stop, drop and eat (our church building just happened to be open that night). I also did not make a nice home cooked birthday dinner....another first. I bought chinese food. It was delicious and we all had a very happy and fun time together.

Funny...I thought I would feel massively guilty about not cooking and baking for my husbands special day....and didn't. guilt. There is a lesson in all of this----ha!

Sunday, August 15, 2010





Friday, August 13, 2010

Cookie of the Week- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Today I am a little bummed. Tomorrow is Aaron's birthday and so I was planning on making him fabulous cupcakes to take to work today. So I get up this morning early and get the batter
almost ready before discovering that I only have 12 cupcake liners. Not enough time to run to the store to get more and have enough time for a few batches, cooling and frosting. Disappointed, I get back into bed as Aaron's alarm clock goes off. Turns out there are a lot of people on vacation at work so it would have been enough. Shoot. It is such a small thing but I did want him to have something festive for his birthday to share with his friends. Maybe on Monday. Or next year.

I left Madelyn on the couch while I went to the bathroom yesterday..facing AWAY from the computer..

Turns out she is a 'Psych' fan and was tuning in on the latest episode!

She's about ready to start crawling around the apartment too!

Well, almost.

Cookie of the Week is a little different this week but since I'm in the cupcake mood..! Cookie dough INSIDE of the cupcake! Delicious and very rich!

yields 2 dozen


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs


  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt; set aside. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1 egg and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips; mixing just enough to evenly combine. Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls; place onto a baking sheet, and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
  2. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. Beat 3 eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer to break up. Add the cake mix, water, and canola oil; continue beating for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each 2/3 full. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion of the cupcake (not the cookie dough ball) comes clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
**On there was a warning about consuming raw eggs:

This recipe contains raw eggs. We recommend that pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and the infirm do not consume raw eggs.

Have these warnings always included "the elderly and the infirm"?!

Later on I'll post about the wonderful experience I had at the grocery store when a kind lady went out of her way to help me. I was so GRATEFUL! But M is asleep and I should be too!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Celebrating....Girlfriends and College!

Finished the lap quilt I was working on! Really love all the color!Time to fold the quilt up and head out to meet girlfriends!
Two college girls! They have known each other their entire lives.
Two college girls' Moms...Ha! Got to love our specs!
Friends for 20 plus years!
S trying out her lap quilt! She is so cute!
More college girl "send-off" gifts!
We had the best time eating, visiting and laughing. We had Panera all to ourselves! It was fabulous! Good luck, girls. We will miss you! xoxoxo

Monday, August 9, 2010

...a little bit corny!

Our family is into corn right now. We are very fortunate to live in farm country, where the corn is "high in the fields" right now. We have a farm neighbor who picks corn from her field each day and stashes it in an outdoor fridge by her barn. We can go and get corn out of her fridge and drop a few $coins into a little coin box attached to the fridge. I just love it. This corn is sooooo good. It is not uncommon for our family to have "just" corn on the cob for dinner. I just had to make cream of corn soup the other day. Does anyone else make corn soup? It is easy and fast and divine!I use one regular can of chicken stock, and 4-5 pre-steamed cobs of corn (cut corn off of the cobs). I take the corn from one of the cobs, a cup of milk, and puree it in my blender. This is the creamed corn portion that adds to the flavor and texture of this soup. I add this mix back into my soup pot. Next, I dice
up 3-4 potatoes (do not skin potatoes), a little salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon of butter, and a green onion or two. Add enough milk to cover all of your ingredients in your pot, and simmer until potatoes are done. I then take a nice full cup of the soup and puree it, once again...adding it back into the pot. Final touches, I stir in some crumbled cooked bacon and about 1/4 cup of grated Colby cheese into the pot of soup. I also put a little more grated cheese and bacon on the table so my family can add more of these two items, if they so desire. To make a richer and creamier soup....use cream of chicken soup in place of the chicken stock, use a combo of whole milk and cream for "milk".

And more with corn from this recipe blog....

Just use corn (Amanda has used frozen corn here), chopped red pepper, red onion and zuchinni.
Add in a little salt, ground pepper and a little garlic powder or fresh garlic chopped.

Mix altogether with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.

Bake at 400 degree's for 15-20 minutes.

Great side dish! Would be wonderful paired with salmon or bbq shrimp.
What are your favorite corn recipes? Let us know. xo

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Instead of New Year Resolutions, I know a lot of people who instead adapted a specific word as their mantra for the year. Words like "focus", "discipline", or "compassion". It's a good idea, really, because focusing on one word and all its meanings seems so much more do-able than the standard list. 1. Loose __lbs. 2. Get back in touch with friends I haven't talked to in monthes 3. Finish that project gathering dust in the garage. Blah.

I thought it would be a good idea to take this method one step further. I've decided to adapt one focus word per month to work on.

I read an article that garnered this inspiration on titled "The Person Inside the Mom" and found a lot of what she had to say can be applied to women in any situation, mother or not yet. Here's an excerpt:

"A lot of the happiness we feel in life comes when we’re progressing; the gospel teaches us this, but it’s true in any walk of life, whether you’re religious or not. And when we feel like we’re in a rut and we’re not progressing, when we’re sad or feeling useless, then we get down about everything in our lives.....

.....what do I want to improve? Who do I want to be? What aspects of my personality should I be developing? What talents should I be developing? What can I do with my kids? How can I do those in conjunction with what I’m doing as a mom?
....Motherhood is taking all these wonderful things the gospel teaches us about love and our role as nurturers and the role of eternal progression in our own lives and then putting it into daily practice. We hear all these great talks, but the how tos . . . the daily practice is often the mystery.

I still have big ideas, but my idea of what is big and what really matters have fundamentally changed.I think that what I’m trying to do is what every mom is trying to do: better herself, take care of her family, plus do a little beyond. We want to take care of ourselves, we want to take care of our families, and then we want to take it a little step beyond that and feel like we’re leaving a little print in other people’s lives, that we’re being a “light to the world” in our own way."

I like the idea of bettering myself, my family and beyond. I can remember feeling at a very young age the desire to "do a little beyond". To "leave a little print in other people's lives" and in this world. I think it's a common human desire. What a better way to do this than a little at a time, one word a month at a time.

That said, my word for the month is.. GRATITUDE.

When the going gets tough..the whining/complaining/crying/lamenting/Laman and Lemueling gets going with me. I forget that life is supposed to be hard sometimes and yes I CAN do it. When this happens it's easy for me to loose sight on the things I have instead of focusing on the have-nots. So for this month every time I think "she's never going to sleep, she is so much work" Or "why can't this apartment stay clean on its own" I'll be GRATEFUL that I have a daughter, that I have a place to sleep and live in that is so much cleaner than the shelters many others have to sleep under. When that doesn't work, I always have these moments:

And I feel grateful.

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