Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Freebie

Welcome back to Friday!

I’m so caught in between the “Wow this week flew by! That’s great!” and “Holy cow-where did this week go?! I have too much to do!” Yikes.

Anyone else?

But one of my favorite things about Friday is sharing my favorite things!

I’m totally smitten with Etsy. I know I’m not the only one. And while I love my big box stores, I’d much rather buy as much as possible from little places. You know, the mom and pop type shops.

Little shop + internet = LOVE

Today I’m sharing one of the most adorable Etsy shops I’ve ever stumbled upon. Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? Let's celebrate that then!

I saw this shop and wanted everything.

Maybe one day.

I can tell you that at least a few things from Bugga Bugs will be included in the Christmas loot at our house in just three short months.

(only three months!! Anyone else aiming for all-or at least mostly-handmade Christmas this year?)

Today’s giveaway is any item you want from Bugga Bugs. Since it’s too hard for me to choose a favorite-you get to!

Go visit Bugga Bugs, come back here and leave a comment to let me know what your favorite pattern is.

As always, extra entries for being a follower, fbing, blogging or tweeting the giveaway. (please leave one comment for each entry).

Entries close at midnight MST Thursday Oct 1, winner chosen using and announced Friday Oct 2.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


First off, may my FIL be blessed for the rest of forever for sending us out for a night.

It was SO nice to get away for the night!

To just hang out, not worry about getting home to get a babysitter back home before too late, to not feel like we had to rush through dinner to get home to get kids in bed.
Mostly, to just be.
Our night away wasn't anything overly exotic or fancy, but it was so wonderful!

We went out to dinner, hung out at the pool, soaked in the hot tub, and went for Frostys at midnight.

And in addition to that-hold on to your hats-are you ready for it?? WE SLEPT IN! I woke up at 5:45, realized I didn't have to get up and rolled back over to go back to sleep.

Oh heaven help me, how wonderful that was!

Which brings me back to the point of this post. As we sat at breakfast this morning (that someone else cooked and cleaned up! woo-hoo!), we talked about how our definition of what a "luxury" is has changed.

Way back in our beginning (read as fresh young newlyweds), we used to look at big houses and fancy cars, name brand clothes and exotic island trips as things that would be a nice luxury one day.

Perspective is an interesting thing.

12 years and seven kids later, our definition of a luxury has changed quite a bit.

It is a luxury to sleep in
To eat as much bacon as I want from a breakfast buffet
To go out to dinner
To have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (especially if you didn't squeeze it!)
To go to Wendy's at midnight if you're craving a Frosty (where we live this would take longer than you realize. Not to mention you can't just leave the kids in bed and take off in the middle of the night!)
To sit and talk, uninterrupted, about important things and not so important things.

It is a luxury to make it to the end of the month and still have money left in the checking account.
To have a mostly finished basement, even if there is no real flooring down there and the kids' bedrooms don't have closet doors yet
To have a car that works, even if it isn't new or fancy, especially since it gets great gas mileage

It is a luxury to laugh together
To have good friends and neighbors
To have inside jokes
To live with someone that you love more than you ever imagined possible

And more than anything else, to come home together, to a house full of kids that missed you and felt like you were gone forever. And realize that you kinda missed them too.

Even if it was just one night.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Tune in next time!

Today's Freebie will actually happen next week, 'cause that's just the way today is happening.
Sorry folks, I'm takin' the day off!

Actually, I'm frantically running around the house like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to get things presentable for my Father-in-law to babysit the kids. Overnight.

How great is that?!

He's treating us to an evening away and staying here with our crazy herd. What a treat!

Although I can't help but wonder if this is a hint.... Last week he called, asked about his 7 amazing grandchildren, then asked if #8 was on the way yet.

I told him #8 was on back order. I kinda can't believe I actually said that to him!

Maybe he's trying to nudge us in the direction of working on the next grandchild! ha!

He would be mortified if he knew I said that!

But hey, he only has one daughter-in-law, isn't it my duty to keep him on his toes?

Enjoy your weekend!


Freebie Winner!

The winner of the Americana tee is lucky #13....
Blogger Julie said...

I am a follower

September 17, 2009 8:55 PM

Congrats Julie! email me at cateyball(at)yahoo(dot)com to let me know what size you'd like.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

One day, I swear I will hear

the following phrase as my dog walks up to me:
"Yo quiero Taco Bell"


Baking Cookies with Neil Diamond

No, Neil wasn't really in my kitchen yesterday. But back in the hotel days my husband was actually his personal waiter during one of his tours. Nice guy that Neil.

I'm just trying to expand my children's repertoire beyond HSM. Not that there is anything wrong with a rousing version of Fabulous.

But yesterday was a little Sweet Caroline (Bah! Bah! Bah!), a tad bit of "you are the sun, I'm am the moon", and a touch of Cherry, Cherry.

And a lot of baking.

Charlotte helped out with the flour.

And enjoyed it too much.

Apparently flour tastes better to a toddler. But flour and saliva is just a nasty paste.
Does this mean I'm raising a paste eater? Oh please no.

The boys picked about a million shapes to cut.

(look at them being resourceful and washing all the ones they want to use! yay!)

And then we cut.

And they snuck dough off the edges.

Rodeo season is over here.

Dang it. Maybe I can convince the hubby to take me again. I promise I won't drool over the bull riding.
Ok, at least I'll try.

This time of year we are usually gearing up for a Disneyland visit. This year we are relishing in Disney in the form of sugar instead.

Mickey Mouse cookie cutter-the souvenir that keeps on giving!

We kept the oven busy all day.

And then later we frosted with John Mayer. For some reason his music makes me think Fall. Him and John Tesh. I don't know how either one of them would feel about that.

I don't know how *I* feel about that.

I went to a John Tesh concert once. It was actually really great. He had a killer violinist. Charlie Bisharat. look him up.

I also went to a Garth Brooks concert once. That rocked. He had a killer fiddler. I don't know his name. I just remember "Johnny Woo-hoo". And that his pants were WAY too tight. It had to hurt.



I am retarded about frosting Christmas cookies (it's almost that time!!!), but it just doesn't quite bleed over to regular cookies.

Not to say we don't still have fun with it.

You'll have to forgive the lack of photos of kids frosting cookies. They mostly just inhaled them as they went. And I was in the corner of the kitchen playing with frosting too. But not inhaling it.
I was doing this:
Wishing Farewell to summer things

Welcoming Fall

Celebrating our best crop! (corn on the cob every night anyone? heh!)

Being obnoxious. Ooooo......cookies.....

"Laces OUT!" Couldn't resist. Aaron has no clue what I'm talking about. If you know what "laces out" is, you win a cookie. If there are any left for you.

Halloween is fast approaching....
Apparently one of the kids felt the need to help liberate some of those chocolate chips from the bottom cookie.
The cowboy cookies stayed plain. 'Cause it just seemed wrong to frost them all up.

This is my baby girl's hand. It's really hard to trace around a squiggly hand in cookie dough.

Then I tried to figure out the perfect Mickey Mouse.

Tried Chocolate Chips:
Tried Sprinkles:
But honestly, I have to say I think I just love the plain old simplicity of this:

Why? Because we like you! Wait, because Mouse ears don't need any help.

And for my meeting tonight:

My motto for meetings: "There is no meeting that cannot be made better with treats". Amen.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Things I found in the wash

This post is called "Things I found in the wash", because it is about things I found in the wash.

Deep and thought provoking, isn't it?

I'm the mean mom who makes my kids do their own laundry.

Starting at 5yrs old, they're up. Yes I'll still help if they need it, but experience has proven that they are old enough to sort their things, load up the laundry, and do much of the folding.

I told you I'm mean.

Hey, at least I won't have kids going off to college and not knowing how to do laundry!
But now I'm wondering, will I have kids that go off to college and don't know how to check their pockets?!?

Today, the big boys are up. Since they are at school most of the day now, I have no problem switching out that first load (started before school!) and throwing in the next load. Then it waits for them to come home and fold and put away.

As I switched the first load, this is what I found:

Two pencil top erasers
One AAA battery
One Penny
A Lego Indiana Jones hat
A play key
A small caribeaner
Two (now mangled) Pokemon cards
A drill bit
Another Lego piece (part of a roof I think?)
A Cub Scout neckerchief slide
A very small suction cup with hook
An MP3 player end cover
and a little tube that I am clueless on. Looks kind of luke a fuse, but it's not. Hmm.

It all comes out in the wash, doesn't it?


Running Stupid

Not as in: Running, Stupid.

Running Stupid. As in the opposite of running smart. As in what I did last Saturday.


I figured since I can pull 7 miles in an hour now (yay!), and be fine w/out taking along a water bottle or stopping on the way, I'd go for 10 big ones.

Well, nice thought, but it didn't turn out so well.

A-I usually run in the morning when it's nice and cool.

I overslept on Saturday and then Aaron had to take off to get some campaign stuff done (btw, if you live in EMtn, go HERE, get informed). This left me to run when he got home or later that evening. The evening wasn't available, so I opted for when he got home. Hey, it's been a little cooler, right?


Word to the wise: do not go running at noon. When it's still soaring into the 80s. And you didn't bring water.

B-Uh, I'm slowly learning to clock the trails with my bike instead of going by the road distance being clocked with my car. Should be a no brainer, right?

Turns out that my 10 miles (by road distance) is actually roughly 11 1/2 miles on the trails. Who knew that zig-zagged that much? Huh. All you people are running further distances than you think!

So how'd it really go?


Ok, not the whole thing. The run out was awesome! At the turn around point I was feeling great, making killer time (killer for me anyway), and the first bit on the way back I was fine.

But then I started feeling it, had to walk part of it, and got sick.

I can now say from personal experience that real dehydration sucks. brown pee= bad.

At least I had taken my phone with me so when I had to suck it up and admit that I really was getting that sick, and I called hubby about a mile from home to come and get me, he did. He was vastly confused when he met me only 1/2 a mile from home with water and I fell into the car. I'm not a quitter. He knows that. He was dumbfounded when he said "Ah, c'mon! You're almost there! You want to finish!" and I replied with "no."

So I guess technically I made my 10, and even a bit more, despite the fact that I don't remember 20ish minutes of it. Good sign, huh? Ugh.

The good news- Almost an entire pizza and 60 ounces of water made me feel human again.
Oh, and if you haven't tried Heed, it's awesome. Chug some of that instead of Gatorade to recover. I'm not a huge fan of most supplement type stuff, but that whole replace everything you just lost thing becomes necessary at a point. I was terrified of hitting that massive grossness that you get after supplements for recovery, especially since we had plans on Saturday night, but there wasn't even a hint of sick that night! I'm totally sold on that stuff.

And now I've learned yet another lesson the hard way. So next time, drinking as I go, a little bit of fuel, and better timing.
Bring it on.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Freebie

Oh how I love Friday.

Today's giveaway actually changed last minute.

It was going to be a cutie patootie little fall applique shirt. From my Etsy shop. That I'm uber slow in stocking, but is finally coming along now.

But I thought it slightly more appropriate to make it relevant to today. It may seem silly, but if it helps one more person remember, then great.

So instead the pumpkin tee stays in the Etsy shop, and maybe it will make an appearance here next month.

Today up for grabs is the Americana tee.

This one pictured is 6-9 mo, but I will make it available in 0-3mo up to 5T, whatever the winner wants.

To enter, leave a comment.
If you feel like it, tell us what today means to you.

Just in case you were wondering, for me, this date means Hope. And gratitude.

Same as always, extra entries for being a follower, blogging, tweeting, fb-ing. (please leave a separate comment for each entry)

Giveaway ends Thursday Sept 17th at midnight MST, winner will be chosen using and announced Friday Sept 18th.

Freebie Winner!

Today's winner of the My Little Seat is.....

Marion said...

I think everyone needs one of those!

Congrats Marion!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

You've (still) got mail!

But less mail than before.

You'll all be happy to know-well, at least my husband will be happy to know-that I have spent the last 20 minutes going through my inbox.

I'm down to 277 emails in my inbox. Don't scoff, that means I've just deleted over 500 emails.

Also, I just came across an email from an old friend from high school that I saved because I didn't have time to reply to it when she sent it.

On July 5th.

Ouch. Sorry about that.

And no, I still can't explain why there are still so many. Mostly because I have other things I have to go do now. We'll see what I can whittle things down to later today.

Hey-baby steps.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to my roots-Random Thoughts

It's been long enough since I've just emptied my brain. And since the name here is "Random Thoughts", I thought I'd get back to basics.
Don't hold it against me.

I have issues with my inbox. I usually am good at replying to emails pretty quickly, apparently I just have a problem deleting things.
There are currently 806 items in my inbox. Sadly, I'm not joking. This will make my husband crazy, which I find amusing. He flips if there are more than 10 items in his inbox.

No one required stitches, or even a trip to Urgent Care this past weekend. I think that is a new record for our family on a holiday weekend.

I think I decided to paint my room. Now I just need to pick the right color.

I have "Chanandler Bong" and "Moley, moley, moley" stuck in my head.

Can you guess what this child had for lunch?

That child sleeps with her shoes now. Is this a bad sign?

Here she is waking up, making sure she has both shoes in hand before starting her day.

I think there is a conspiracy in the appliance industry. Appliance delivery is always late. When we moved here they said they'd be here around 5pm, they came at 10:30pm. Seriously. Appliance repairmen are always late. I have no personal story, they just are. And now the conspiracy extends to replacement parts. When we ordered the part to fix the oven, it was supposed to come on Friday, it came the next Wednesday. Since that once broke as the oven was being fixed (talk about torture), we had to reorder. You guessed it, late again.

Jim Gaffigan cracks me up. I could listen to his bit about bacon over and over and over and still laugh until I cry. That and Hot Pockets. That never stops being funny.

When my 4yr old was ignoring me the other day, I asked if there was a problem. He told me, "Mom, when our teeth are tired, then our mouths can't open." Apparently his teeth were too tired to allow him to reply. But they woke up enough to explain.

I do not recommend running a 10-ishK when feeling ill. (10-ish because the course is almost 7 miles) You feel it too much the next day.

Also, do not get the stomach flu after a long weekend. Especially when your house has not recovered from the camping trip you took over said long weekend. It kills your productivity.

Speaking of the 10-ishK, I was sure I'd be longer than my last timed run on that course. But when I realized around mile 5 that my pace was actually not too bad, I started getting my hopes up. Good news, my time was not that far off of the last holiday weekend run. Bad news, I missed beating my last time by two seconds. TWO stinkin' seconds.
Now I have to go run that course again when I feel better so that I can beat my time.

I think I may be too competative sometimes.

Apparently my children need to review their colors.

Or they desperately wanted to write the word "blue", no matter what color crayon they had in hand. And the desire was so urgent that they couldn't be bothered to find paper, thus they needed to write on the door.

You know when you buy a dress, and it's either "meh, I like it enough, and it's a great price, maybe it will grown on me", "I like it, it's nice.", or "Oooo...I really like it!"; well, there's another level. It is the very rare dress that makes you squeal with delight as you look in the mirror, trying to prevent yourself from jumping up and down out of sheer excitement that you found a dress that you like so much while reassuring your husband that you are not actually having a seizure and hoping he really likes it too.
I found one of those dresses. For $1.24. Score.

I think I was actually jealous of someone who was complaining about morning sickness recently. Hm.

I have an unnatural need to bake.

Also for M&Ms. Which I must buy soon because now the Halloween ones are out. Not that they taste any different, but they make me feel more festive.

Speaking of Halloween, I enjoy it way too much. The dressing up part. I'm not into the whole gory, nasty, evil, gross part of Halloween, but I love the costumes. Mine is starting to come together. That makes me happy. Now hubby has to get on the ball and figure his out.

I have a picture of the hubby and I after waking up on our last camping trip. (Can you call it waking up if you've only slept in 20 minute spurts over a timespan of about 5 hours?) I was going to post it, but I like this picture of waking up while camping better:

I love her hair when she wakes up.

I'm so bugged that this picture is out of focus.

Despite the fact that I feel like garbage and have only kept down a piece of toast today, I have an overwhelming urge to bake a cheesecake. I guess it's a good thing I don't have all the ingredients on hand.

And now it's time to start the next load of laundry. This makes 9 loads today. Really.

Happy Tuesday.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sweet Tooth Sunday

Ahhh.....Sweet Rolls.

These have kind of become a staple in my neighborhood during the cold winter months, although they've been welcomed any time of year. These are also our Christmas morning breakfast. After putting the kiddos to bed on Christmas Eve we make these while we put the finishing touches on everything to be ready for the big day. It makes the house smell SO good!

And we have friends two houses down that each year let us knock on their door around 11:30-midnight on Christmas Eve with a plate of warm gooey goodness.

You know good people when they wait up until midnight for sweet rolls. Yup.

My oven broke a couple of weeks ago. It was fixed on Thursday night at 10:17 pm.

Hey, it was an important moment in this house. Don't judge.

I have baked every day since then. Apparently I needed some back-order therapy.Though brownies were the first thing I baked, these made for a beautiful Saturday morning.

I now make these in my mixer, but until last year when I first got a mixer, I spent all those years making them by hand. And I triple the recipe
every time I make it. It takes a little bit of work when mixing, but how did you think I ended up with these arms?

And people think baked goods only increase your waist line! Pshaw!

So don't let the mixer throw you off, if you don't have one, make these anyway!

Also, I triple this recipe every time I make it.
We like sweet rolls, what can I say? And the neighbors never complain about it either!

First, throw everything dry in there. Flour (half of it), sugar, powdered milk, salt, yeast.

A plethora of dry ingredients.
Add in your hot water and shortening (or butter or margarine, though honestly I prefer shortening in this recipe).

Uh, don't forget eggs. I almost forgot the eggs. Whoops.

Now you have something that resembles paste.

And probably tastes like it too. I wouldn't know. Yeast dough is one of the very few things that I don't taste in the making process. I was not the paste eater type. If you were and you want a trip down memory lane, go for it. Just please don't actually admit to being a paste eater. Thankyouverymuch.

Once that's all mixed in, start adding the rest of the flour gradually,

until a soft dough forms.

It will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl (whether mixing by hand or mixer).

Don't make it too thick or the rolls are tough and chewy instead of light and fluffy.
Please don't make them tough and chewy.
Once you get to the right consistency, let it rest for 5-10min, then knead it (with your mixer or by hand) until it is smooth and elastic.
Cover it.

You don't want the kids to know what you're doing. Trust me.

Otherwise they will begin hounding you from the minute the dough finishes, right on through the rising, into the baking time, and relentlessly begging you for one the second the oven timer goes off. Then they will bring their friends in to do the same because you insist that if they take one of that baking sheet right now it will burn your tongue off. Though at this point they'd deserve it for pestering you about "
STARV-ing" 57 times in the last 2 minutes.

Wait, where were we?

When it doubles in size, punch it down, and let it rise again. It does go faster the second time. (you can skip this part, but it does lend a little something extra to the finished product)

And now, the moment of truth has arrived.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle.
(about 14"x22" -ish)

Pour some melted butter on there

Then spread it around.

Now for the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

And a little secret-throw just a bit of brown sugar in there. It makes a difference. Trust me.

Roll that baby up,
and break out the floss.

No, you're not eating yet. The floss is cutting things.

Thread works too, but I've found that more people have floss than thread. Then there are the people that have neither and have stuff stuck in their teeth and un-mended seam splits. Please help them.

Back to the point; cut your rolls,

place them on a baking sheet.

You can also use a glass dish (like a 9x13) if you prefer.

I like to let them sit for a few minutes longer for just a little extra time to rise.

And now, we bake!

The anticipation just kills them!

Tell me this doesn't make your mouth water.

Finish up with a glaze (milk or water + powdered sugar, and a touch of vanilla), or if you're the cream cheese frosting on everything type, go for it. I stick with the simple glaze, 'cause it complements these just right.

Black and white. Bread and butter. Peas and carrots. Sonny and Cher. Sweet rolls and glaze.

See? it just works.

Now grab a fork (or two)

and dig in.

Excuse me, my oven is calling me again.

Sweet Rolls

4 c flour

1/3 c powdered milk

1/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp yeast

1 1/3 c hot water

1/3 c shortening or margarine

1 egg

Cinnamon/sugar mixture

1 cup sugar and 2-2 1/2 tsp cinnamon


Powdered sugar, vanilla, milk or water

Mix 2 cups flour, powdered milk, sugar, salt and dry yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add hot water, shortening, and eggs. Add the remaining flour a little at at time until it forms a soft dough. Do not add too much flour. Allow to rest for 10 min. Knead until smooth and elastic. Let rise until double in bulk. Punch down and allow to rise a second time. Roll the dough into a very large rectangle approx 14x22 inches. Spread with warm melted margarine or butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Roll into shape (one long roll), cut into 12-15 rolls. I find it easiest to cut with thread or floss. Please on baking sheet, let rise until double in bulk and nice and light. Bake at 375 12-14 minutes until light golden brown.

Mix ingredients for glaze until desired consistency, spread over baked rolls.