Let the Countdown Begin

I love the beginning of a new year. I like the fresh start that gives me an excuse to try anything and everything. For a moment I believe I can accomplish anything I want to try. I also love the possibilities of what may come in the year ahead.

Some things on my list for 2009...

Sucking up my laziness and potty-training

Using my new wheat grinder--and baking

Keeping up on exercise no matter what

Take Grey to do something fun once a week

A trip with Jared sans Grey (hint, hint)

Get up-to-date on my digi-scrapbooking

Organize some of those dreaded closets and drawers

So with my glass of sparking pear juice tonight, I will toast to all that 2009 will bring.

Happy New Year!


I love this kid!

Some days I can't stand how cute he is!
(Thanks Jodie for the picture)


Taking the tree down...

I am always so sad once Christmas is over. I think I go through mild depression after the big day. ;) I love everything about the Christmas season and all the wonderful things we get to do as a family.

Christmas Eve with Jared's family was packed full of fun activities!

The 2nd annual family photo
A yummy turkey dinner (ate too fast to take pictures!)

A special visit from Santa (I was not joking about Grey hating Santa)
The 3rd annual nativity

and gifts of course!

Christmas Day I made our traditional homemade cinnamon rolls and lounged around the house. Grey had so much fun opening gifts this year. It made it even more fun for us! This is the only picture I have of Grey in his Christmas PJ's--Thanks Pam!
Oh and the dogs loved their gifts too...

I didn't take any pictures because I forgot my camera, but we spent some time with my Dad & Mona as well as my Mom & Dave to celebrate Christmas. Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful, thoughtful gifts!!!

Now we move into the New Year. Can it really almost be 2009?!!


Christmas Traditions: Gingerbread Houses

Jared & I started this tradition our first Christmas together and carry it on every year. This year we let Grey do the decorating and he mostly played with the candies and dipped his finger in the icing. After about ten minutes the whole thing crashed down--so we won't get to look at our masterpiece this year.



Thanks to my wonderful mother & step-dad, Jared & I got to celebrate his birthday all weekend by ourselves. I did not take any pictures mostly because it was FREEZING cold. Plus I was too lazy to find the camera.

We spent our quiet weekend:

Testing out my new skis & Jared's new board at Copper (with a high temp of ZERO)
Snuggling & napping by the fire
Watching movies
Bundling up and walking the dogs
Playing cards
Talking without interruptions

I could go for these weekends a lot more often!


Christmas Traditions: Candy-Making Part 2

Peppermint Bark & English Toffee

This year's candy making continues with two of my absolute favorites. The peppermint bark is very simple. I don't really measure it out, so just use your best judgement.
2 bags of white chocolate chips (good quality)
2 boxes of peppermint candy canes
1-2 teaspoons of peppermint extract

Unwrap the candy canes and put them in a ziploc bag. The best part is busting them up with a meat mallet. It is really fun! Leave some bigger chunks in there--not too small. At the same time, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. When it is melted, mix in a few of the larger chunks of candy canes. Stir in some peppermint extract. Spread it out on a large sheet of parchment paper and immediately sprinkle with more candy canes. Let it cool and break it up.

I love homemade toffee more than any other candy. It takes a little bit of patience and sweating over a steaming hot pot while it cooks. But it is definitely worth it!

English Toffee
Lion House Christmas

1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I use almonds)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8-ounce milk chocolate bar

Butter a 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped nuts in the bottom of the pan; set aside. Combine butter, sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until candy reaches hard-crack stage, 300 degrees (when dropped in cold water, mixture should form hard, brittle threads that break easily). Pour candy over nuts in prepared pan and spread slightly. Break chocolate bar in squares and place on hot candy. Allow to melt 5 minutes then spread out over candy. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup nuts. Makes 1 1/2 pounds. Note: You can also make this without nuts and it is just as yummy!


Mr. Santa Claus

Grey was absolutely TERRIFIED--again this year--of Santa (**spoiler alert**) played by Dave D. He had me in a death grip until Santa was back out the door. So I took matters in my own hands and created a funny little memory with photoshop. Hehehe... I am just glad we decided against standing in line at a sweaty, loud, crowded mall this year!


Happy Birthday Lover

hApPy bIrThDaY

to my

cherry-chip cake eating,
back-to-back snuggling,
seinfeld watching,
sweet compliment giving,
dog (obsessed) loving,
triathlon & marathon goal-setting,
non-fiction book reading,
made-up song singing,
Grey tossing,


I am so blessed to have you as my husband. Happy birthday!


Christmas Traditions: Candy-Making Part 1

I have very fond memories as a child making Christmas candy with my mother. In the last few years I have revived this tradition in our own home. I love devouring cookbooks and picking out the candies for that year. 

Although not technically a candy, this year's candy-making begins with:

Luscious Fudge
(Lion House Christmas)
1 12-ounce milk chocolate bar, broken into pieces
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chopped walnuts (I leave these out)

Butter a 9x13-inch pan. Combine both chocolates and marshmallow creme in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine evaporated milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for six minutes. Pour over chocolate mixture. Beat vigorously with wooden spoon until creamy. Add vanilla and walnuts. Mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Let stand two hours, then cut into small squares. Makes 5 pounds candy.


Tuesday Mornings

Tuesday Morning Joys:

waking up eArLy to lots of snow

getting everyone eXcITeD about it
(I am like a little kid on Christmas Morning when it snows!)

running back to bed for a few more sNuGgLEs

bUnDLiNg up the whole family to shovel

It is the first time it has snowed enough to whip out the shovels again. We are a strange family and actually love the snow. BRING IT ON! We all pile outside to "help" shovel. Help meaning we play in the snow while Jared does the real work. I couldn't resist buying the kiddie-sized shovel at Ace Hardware. It was so worth it to see Grey pushing his shovel around trying to copy Jared. 


I Have Proof!

This is evidence that all those hours you think you wasted on facebook are actually worthwhile. Jared found a couple of his best friends from elementary and middle school on there not too long ago. One of them had a conference in Denver so they had a little 'reunion.' It had been over 15 years since they had seen each other. I loved hearing all the funny stories plus I got a really yummy steak out of it! We even found out one of them lives in our neighborhood AND has a son around the same age. Too funny! So don't feel guilty while neglecting your children or work and getting lost in the facebook trap.


The stockings were hung...

I love the entire Christmas season! I have been patiently waiting for Thanksgiving so I could start with Christmas. We made it through the tree decorating with only one broken ornament. Grey thought they were balls and smacked them together. Ooooops... 


It is in the Little Things...

Becoming a mother has given me a different perspective on gratitude. I have been thinking lately about the little things throughout the day that make me happy such as:

Little moments of silence

Sleeping past 7AM

Long, heart-pumping, sweaty exercise

Front row parking at Sam's Club

Any kind of alone time with Jared - library runs, dinner, lounging...

Taking a shower AND shaving my legs

Running errands all by myself!

NAPS (mine and Grey's)

Looking down at my toes and actually having polish on them

Morning snuggles with Grey & Jared

Chocolate--come on, I can't leave that one off.. It does lift me every so often!

In all sincerity--I feel very blessed in my life. Every so often I reflect on my life and wonder how I got here and how grateful I feel. 

I am especially thankful for:

--my little family that is just beginning
--Jared - he gets his own line for being such a wonderful, loving, and thoughtful husband. How was I smart enough at 22 to say yes and marry him?!!
--extended family--parents, step-parents, cousins, grandparents, in-laws (could I really be so lucky?)
--My sissy P! I have no idea what I would do without her. We spend hours and hours talking about anything and everything. Plus she can always make me laugh!
--so many wonderful friends that have been in my life for years or for a short time. Each one is so very important to me.
--our amazing country with freedoms and every opportunity available.
--Most importantly, having the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. It brings me so much joy, hope and understanding.
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?


All in a Day's Work

As I was reading blogs and checking the news this morning, this is what Grey was doing...
He is so proud of his work! Now if only I could get him to understand how the toilet is used.

Double Check Your Mirrors

I watched a little old lady get hit by a car in the King Sooper's parking lot today. A car was backing up quickly and didn't see her. Unfortunately it looked like she was pretty hurt. Luckily the firemen were inside--for some reason they are there every Monday when I'm getting groceries... Just a reminder when you are rushing around in the holiday craze to double check before you back out.


Thank you Mrs. Seinfeld

Jared got me Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook last Christmas because I had been adding pureed veggies to foods and wanted to try it in other recipes. Her recipe for chicken nuggets is wonderful and very healthy. Jared loves them and asks for them weekly. Grey will eat about 8 chicken nuggets at a sitting. I make a honey mustard dip with 2 parts low or fat-free mayo, about one part yellow mustard and one part honey. I don't measure it out, so keep checking and tasting it to get it right. The original recipe is cooked in a skillet, but I prefer to bake them.

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I use panko from Sunflower Mkt)
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 tbsp grated parmesan
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 cup broccoli, spinach, sweet potato or beet puree (I use spinach and sometime half spinach/half sweet potato)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, rinsed, dried and cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp salt
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350. Set out a large cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In one bowl, mix first six ingredients. In a shallow bowl, mix puree and egg with a fork
3. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Dip chunks into egg mixture and toss in bread crumbs until well coated.
4. Arrange chicken chunks on the cookie sheet. Give a quick spray over the tops with nonstick cooking spray to make them a little crispier. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cut into one to check that it is cooked through.



Grey loves to get "cozy" in our bed. He is a little Rod munching his popcorn, guzzling milk and snuggling in the blankets. He asks many times a day if he can go get CoZy!
(sorry about the iphone photo)


Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe has evolved from one my sister gave me years ago off Good Day Utah. It is so easy to make and tastes fantastic. I always thought the crushed tortilla chips were strange, but they make the soup thick, rich and oh so savory. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
8 cups water
2 tbsp chicken bouillon
2.5 cups salsa (have fun with this!)
1 cup cilantro, chopped
3 small zucchini, chopped
1 can corn
3 handfuls crushed tortilla chips
3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
Lime juice

Saute olive oil, garlic, onion and carrots in large pot until opaque. Add rest of ingredients except for chicken and tortilla chips. Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add tortilla chips and chicken. Simmer another 10 minutes. Add lime juice to taste. Spoon into bowls and top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado, lime wedges and tortilla strips.


First Snow

Waking up to FaLLiNg sNoW is my favorite! Unfortunately, by the time I got back from the gym, most of it was melted and Grey was scared to play in what was left...


What is the opposite of man? Jam!

So I watch too many Friends reruns. Anyways... I get all cozy in the fall and get the urge to bake and homemake stuff. This week I tried freezer jam since I hear it is easy and yummy. It took no time at all and I've already tried to put it on everything in the fridge. Jared likes it but he thinks it is too tart--meaning it tastes more like fruit than sugar!