Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pure Bliss

I have always been guilty of LOVING candy. When I was young, my mom would always get after me for "eating my earnings". As soon as I would make any money babysitting, or at my job, I would spend it on either fast food, or at "Mr. Bulky's" {in the mall, it was a fabulous bulk candy store!}.

While visiting my sister-in-law Jane's house, I snaked a couple of these out of her candy dish - and fell in love!
These are so yummy! They just came out about a month ago, and are oh so smooth and creamy. You must try them! They are on sale this week at K-mart for $2.50/bag, which I price matched at Wal-mart. Normal price is $3/bag. Sunday's newspaper will have a B1G1 free coupon in it.

I am a huge See's candy fan {who isn't?} and especially love their chocolate hearts at Valentine's Day and chocolate shamrocks at St. Patrick's Day. But since we can't have them year round - these are great. I love to freeze my chocolate and they are even more yummy!

Personal favorite is a dark chocolate bliss, followed by a milk chocolate bliss, and chased down with a glass of milk!

If you love candy like I do, click here to check out this blog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Jeff's sister Aileen and her family are in town this week. Tonight we had a Luau at Grandma's house. Aunt Jane had fun hawaiian music and yummy drinks, Grandma Susan made delicious food, and we had lots of games. From a hula contest to the limbo we had a ball!
This is part of our little crew. There are 13 grandchildren {and one on more on the way}, and the oldest is 10. Yes, Reed was only the 3rd boy in the bunch, and yes, 9 little girls all in a row! The only one missing from Jeff's siblings is Katie! She has two little girls that fit in just older than Sofie and just younger than the little set of twins in the photo. We wish you were here Katie and Jack - It's not the same without you!

Sleeping with the ponies

Sofie has opted to sleep with her ponytails intact both Sunday night and tonight. Bows and all! Last night they had baths before bed, so she had no choice. I don't get it. I can distinctly remember the feeling when I was little of removing the ponytails, and rubbing my head. That feeling of relief, of freedom! I just don't know why anyone would want to sleep with them in!

Maybe she's feeling a little insecure these days. She took her nap today with her sandals on, and wanted to sleep with them on tonight as well. Once again, she had no choice because she's wearing footed jammies!

Monday, April 28, 2008

An appreciation for nature

We went to the park tonight to take advantage of this gorgeous weather we're having {because we all know it will dissapear the day after tomorrow!}. We were on the way home from and passed by this house. Bella stopped dead in her tracks, looked at it and said "That is a beautiful garden. And it's a big garden too!". It doesn't seem to matter that the people are harvesting weeds! She's still at the age where a dandelion is a special gift to mom. When we were working in the backyard on Saturday she enjoyed picking the "wheat". Once I explained they are "weeds" and that she could pick as many as she wanted - she had a hayday!

While at the park she was riding her bike around a path with a couple of little girls. She suddenly got off her bike and ran at least 200 yards to where I was standing. When I asked her what was going on she said "I hurt my leg!". We then walked all the way back to her bike, and she rode all the way home. She didn't cry until we'd been home for about 15 minutes {obviously at that point it was a sympathy cry!}.
Oh to be 5 once again . . .

Friday, April 25, 2008


My sister DeLyn gave me the new "Martha Stewart's Cookies" cookbook for my birthday. I am literally drooling while reading it! The photos make you want to take a bite out of the page!

I have always loved making cookies. I don't know what it is about them, but I love it. My mom still can't believe how fast I can crank out a batch, and she prefers making a cake. I don't think they are that much hassle and prefer them over cake anyday.

I tried one recipe while in Phoenix with my friend Debi. The NE Plus Ultra Cookies {basically a chocolate chip cookie}. They were tasty, but won't replace my current choc. chip cookie recipe {which by the way I just posted on my recipe blog}.

We are having a big family dinner tonight and I am trying some of these new recipes for dessert. I'm not sure how many I'll try. As Jeff put it - he may come home and have a platter of 6 different cookies on it! We'll see how the children cooperate, to see how many I get cranked out.
I'll post my favorites on my recipe blog. Keep watching for them!

Ones that have caught my eye: Chocolate Malt Sandwiches, Milk-Chocolate Cookies, Sand Tarts (these look like silver dollars and you can make them into ice cream sandwiches), Chocolate Charms, White Chocolate-Chunk Cookies, Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies. and Chocolate Pistachio Cookies {just to name a few!}.
Can you tell I like chocolate? I believe I will be needing some taste testers - Jeff can't ever keep up with my baking, and things get thrown out because I say they're stale. Any volunteers?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

String Bean

Today was Reed's 1 year check-up (or as Bella likes to say "his well check"). I was shocked to find out that he is STILL tall and skinny. The 95% for height, and the 20% for weight. I was for sure that they were going to tell me he was short and fat! By the way, his hair length - 2%

One time Bella heard that I had a doctor appointment, and she asked if it was for a "well check".

Flaky Utah

I have come to the decision that Salt Lake must have a SERIOUS case of dandruff. Why else would we wake up to snow on April 24th?

These "dots" in my flower bed would be my 100 bulbs that I planted, that are just now getting the courage to enter this world, only to get dumped on.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

There's only 1 Sofia

For dessert tonight, Sofie wanted bubble gum ice cream (yuck!) and a mini chocolate donut. She went over to the table, and the next thing we knew, she had added Cheetos to the ice cream (now that's delectable!). She ate it all!

After Reed's party Sunday night, we were all exhausted. Jeff & I actually went to bed early (prior to 11 p.m.). It was 10:15 and every light in the house was out. Then Sofie started to belt out 10 verses of "Old McDonald". It was so cute we couldn't tell her to be quiet, but at the same time we wanted to yell out "Put a sock in it!".
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Reedio

My little boy turns 1 today! I can't believe it - it went so fast. He is so much fun and the sweetest little guy.
Oh - to see what this next year brings - I'll probably lose 20 pounds trying to keep up with him. No complaints here!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Birthday Bash

We had a big party for the little man. It's so funny how he had no idea that it's all about him! We were joined by Grandma Susan, Aunt Jane, Uncle Aaron and thier crew, and Reed's college cousins Shelly and Katie and their friends.

There was plenty to eat and lots of streamers and balloons. I must be feeling like I need some summer, because the menu was "Arizona Orr Burgers", hot dogs, pasta salad, and fresh fruit. And it was freezing outside (thankfully it didn't snow as was forecasted).

He loved his new toys (and sipper cup!) and seemed to enjoy the party. As always, I wish I could have spent more time on the cake - but oh well!

Thanks to all that attended and the warm wishes of those that couldn't!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A True Winner

Today my sister Darla completely amazed me. She ran a marathon - 26.2 miles!

I caught up with her husband Jim, and his sister at the 16 mile mark. Darla looked like she was just out for a jog. She said she was doing great and seemed completely unfazed by the whole thing. She was so cute how each time we caught up with her she would tell Jim "I just have to run to the church" or "to the park". She would picture in her head her daily runs at home in California - the 10 mile runs, 3 mile runs, etc. It kept her going.

At the 20 mile mark, she said she was "starting to feel it". Well I would certainly hope so after running 20 miles! Up until the race today, the longest run she had done was 21 miles.

23 mile mark - she said the same thing, and was walking. After the race she told us that at that time she had decided to walk the remainder of the race. Jim told her to "get her pace", and after we walked away, we noticed she was running again. She said that he inspired her to finish strong.

She made unbelievable time her last 3 miles, compared to the rest of the race. Her goal was to make it in 6 hours, and she beat that time by about 15 minutes! She made a strong finish and left us spectators wondering how she did it and so very proud of her.
I found myself in tears many times thinking of the miracle that has occurred. It was almost 13 years ago that she nearly lost her life in a car accident with her family. She shattered her hip, broke her neck, and sustained severe head trauma. Spent 6 weeks in a coma, and for all practical purposes, she shouldn't be with us today. She is truly a miracle as well as an inspiration to make the most of what you've been blessed with.
I can't say that I would ever join her - but I'll cheer her on anytime! I love you Darla!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Visit to Paradise

We just returned last night from a trip to Phoenix. We left when it was snowing, and about 35 degrees. We arrived to 75 degree Phoenix weather - it was awesome!!! It hit in the high 90's a day or two, and I soaked up, and LOVED every degree!
The reason for the trip was to attend the baby blessing of little Kate. She is so small and just as cute as cute can be. It was fun spending time with family and friends during our trip.

We had cake with Blake, his birthday was the day of the blessing.

The one thing that brought us back was the fact that Jeff didn't come, and we missed him so much. Bella shed many a tear during the trip, she missed him so much.
While visiting the Beeson's, we fell in love with their "splash pad". While the Beeson kids hesitated to get in with their swimsuits on, because it was "too cold", Bella went in fully dressed. She was in heaven!

On the way home (an 11 1/2 hour trip because I was by myself), I believe Reed and Sofie wished they were elsewhere. They each fell asleep like this, at the same time I might add, and I managed to wiggle their blankets down so they wouldn't get sweaty!

There are benefits to traveling with two adults. One would be, in my case, that one of us would have a brain. I was shocked when I opened the back of the van to unload, and realized that on my last stop, 200 miles south, I left my stroller in the parking lot! Each stop I made, I would put Reed in the stroller, so that I didn't have to wrestle him in the bathroom. Luckily there was nothing in it, but I am now officially in the market for a single stroller. I still can't believe I did that.
All in all the kids were great in the car - and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Spot Speck the Puppy

My cute niece Bridgette is doing a class project and needs your help!

They have just read the story "Flat Stanley" (a personal favorite of mine). If you haven't read the book - it's about a little boy who gets flattened by a bulletin board, that falls off of his wall in the middle of the night (he doesn't get hurt). His parents take advantage of the situation and mail him in an envelope to visit his friend in another state. He returns to his family with wonderful information about the places he visited and the things that he did.

Bridgette's class has "flattened" their favorite stuffed animals and sent them around the U.S. "Spot Speck The Puppy" is visiting me! Please mail a picture postcard from your state, telling of an "adventure" that Spot Speck has had with you.

Mail to:
Bridgette Garrison
Jackson Elementary School
32400 Camino San Dimas
Temecula, CA 92592
Attn: Ms. Fine's Class

All postcards must be mailed by the first week of May. Thanks for your help - I can't wait to hear about all the adventures he's having!

Friday, April 11, 2008

We're a bit parched

In search of water!

Anyone who's lived in the Phoenix valley knows that the tap water tastes terrible. Hence, I am now VERY spoiled about how my water tastes.

Our favorite place to fill our many water jugs was Water 'n Ice. It was only .20/gallon. We thought that was great, until we moved here.

Now we know that was a phenomenal price! We've tried the Culligan machine at Wal-mart - not that great. We did however find a terrific little water store not too far away - and then it went out of business. They charged .35/gallon, which we thought was a little steep - until now.

Every water store we have tried since then charges about .50/gallon. RiDiCULouS!! So any ideas would be great. We are willing to drive a little way - we have many 5 gallon jugs, so the drive is worth it because we don't have to do it that often.

Deep from the heart of Texas

My "lone" visitor this last weekend was my great friend Stacia. Her husband surprised both of us last week by flying her out here for a long weekend.

She arrived Thursday evening, and was able to stay until this afternoon. We had fun taking the kids to Gardner Village on Friday - luckily that was the warmest day of the weekend. We went on a "fabric hunt" and found the cutest quilt shops in town (thanks Susan and Jane for your ideas!).

On Saturday we were able to attend the afternoon session of General Conference (Thanks Aunt Carol for tickets!). It was great, and amazing how the only flowers I've seen around this city are on Temple Square. We saw Jason and Traci Barney at Conference - friends from our Gilbert ward.

It is always fun to "create" with Stacia. Her brain is absolutely unbelievable when it comes to sewing, and figuring out the smartest way to cut or sew something. We work very well together and I miss doing fun projects with her. She was a huge help to Dayna and I when we had our "Six Sisters" handbag business. She streamlined things, as well as was a workhorse.

It was a fun weekend - can't wait to do it again! Next time I want to go alone and leave MY kids at home!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pork Chops and Applesauce

Bella came home from school last week asking what we were having for dinner. When I replied that I didn't know, she requested Pork Chops. I wasn't quite sure what precipitated the request until I found out that they studied China at school. She brought home chopsticks and was determined that the only food suitable to eat with them was pork chops. In fact she often referred to the chopsticks as "pork chops" the remainder of the day. It can be confusing I know.

By the way - we had chicken.

Tastes just like chicken

Reed will attach himself to a different toy every day. The other day it was this rubber chicken. He loved crawling around with it hanging out of his mouth. I'm just glad he didn't poke a hole in it!

Monday, April 7, 2008

How 'bout them Jayhawks?!

Way to go Jayhawks on the National Championship! Although I never attended the school - it's always good for Kansas to get a little recognition. You kind of get tired of Dorothy being the only celebrity from Kansas.

Gearing up for Cinco de Mayo

Bella learned about Mexico today at school. Apparently they painted pinatas or something. She came home and created this lovely, festive pinata this afternoon. Jeff says it's "octopus style". Trust me - it's full of Easter candy! She wanted to hang it tonight and had a bat and everything ready for it - but we ran out of time. Perhaps tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


One thing I will not miss, now that Reed is nearly 1, is opening the formula can. (Yes, not having to BUY the formula is a perk as well!)

It NEVER fails, every time I go to open the can - a huge explosion occurs. It always happens right after I wipe down my countertops, and I am left with a sticky powdery mess.

You would think that after living here for the entire time he has had formula, I would anticipate it. BUT NOOOO, I forget and every time it surprises me. I still can't get used to this high altitude when it comes to anything in the kitchen!

Life's Little Pleasures

So yesterday both Jeff and I took separate trips to the dentist to have our teeth cleaned. (Fabulous dentist by the way - I'm not biased or anything!)
Being the son of a dentist, Jeff has always been the poster child for oral hygiene. So last night as we went to bed, Jeff asked me "Do your teeth feel nice and clean?" (he always asks me this after getting them cleaned), I replied "yes". He said, "For your birthday you like to get a pedicure, for my birthday I just want to get my teeth cleaned!" He was dead serious too.

I can't say I will ever enjoy going to the dentist as much as my husband does. Definitely not a pampering treatment in my book!