Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's up Wednesday--the best granola

I love granola.  I love oatmeal--not plain, but in things.  I know I have mentioned this granola before, but it bears repeating.  If you haven't made it, you need to.  It is divine.  Our family can eat the whole recipe in one sitting.  I have made it for our treat for Friday night movie nights, and everyone cheers.  I even made this for seminary once and was very surprised that the high school boys gobbled it up.  The original recipe is from, of course, Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  She uses raisins, but my family loves the dried cranberries.  I also use coconut oil instead of regular oil when I make this, but both work well.  I just like things I can make with coconut oil because it smells so good :)  This is divine over vanilla yogurt in the mornings or just with milk.  It is also just great to snack on.  Enjoy!
Coconut and Cashew Granola

 3 cups oats, can use old fashioned or quick
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 Tab brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tab pure maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil
3/4 cup salt
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250. In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar.  In a smaller bowl whisk together the oil, syrup, and salt.  Slowly pour the liquid over the oatmeal mix and stir well until all covered.  Divide in half and pour onto two 11x17 rimmed baking sheets.  Spread out into an even layer for each sheet.  Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes until golden.  Remove from oven.  Transfer to a large bowl and mix in 1 cup of raisins or dried cranberries.  Store covered.


Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 17

A fun, busy week starting with Easter, 2 track meets, author visits, an amusement park visit, and then Miss A had her state solo competition which she got a "1"!  Way to go Miss A!!!!  Busy week!  Take a look. . .
Easter Sunday--showing off new Easter dresses and tie

Twin ties--aren't they handsome!

The missionaries from our church shared with us a great scripture lesson.  I was so impressed with their creation!  Talking about building up strong defenses to protect our families and keep them close to Christ.

Track Meet #1 of the week for Miss O--she did awesome--3 medals in her races!

Had the sister missionaries over to help us get the garden cleaned out today.  This sister went to BYU, so we all had to wear our BYU shirts and get a photo.  

Had two visiting children's book authors/illustrators here this weekend for our county young author celebration.  This is Mr J with author Peter Lerangis.  A great presentor!!

Miss O with author Peter Lerangis and some of his books she got signed.

Miss O and the amazing illustrator Ard Hoyt.  He was just awesome to hear present!  So talented!  Check out his books if you haven't seen them before.  

Miss E and illustrator Ard Hoyt with some of her favorite books of his.  Miss A and Ben were not there because they were at track meet #2 of the week, but no photos of that because I had the camera with me :)

Saturday our family was scattered across the state.  These two partners in crime went to the city to the amusement park as a fun end of school trip.  Miss A and Ben were in another city (with no camera) for her state voice solo where she got a "1"!!!!  And Mr J and I were at the author celebration.  Busy day!  Only 3 weeks of school left!!!!  I am ready for summer!!

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday thoughts

My random Friday thoughts and excess Easter photos. . .
My weekly bathroom inspirational quote.  This applies not only to spouses but to everyone.  Good advice all around.

Trying to get decent Easter photos can be a challenge sometimes. . .she was not going to smile.  Her shoes didn't fit right, so she wasn't going to wear them.  Sunday morning at 9:40 when we have to leave for church at 9:45 is not the time to break down, have a fit, and tell me your Sunday shoes do not fit.  Can't do a thing about it then.  Sorry.  She wore the too-tight fitting shoes and new Sunday shoes are on the shopping list for this week :)

Funny face with older sister accidentally in the back ground. . .

"You stand here." "Don't move!" " Dad, tell him to move!"  It is always the little brother's fault.

Everyone is smiling, but you realize your youngest is getting too tall to stand in front of his sister anymore.

Necessary crazy pose.

And finally a pretty good Easter shot except the tie is crooked but that is ok :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's up Wednesday--blueberry zucchini bread

I love, love, love zucchini.  I know people joke about how much you get and how people can't give it away and locking your car doors at church so people won't sneak it into your car and stuff.  Well if you have any to give away, please give it to me, put it in my car at church because we can use it here.  Sometime I will have to show you my "zucchini recipes" list.  It is long.  I can never run out of ways to use this awesome veggie.  Sadly, I plant lots of zucchini, but it doesn't seem to do well in my garden.  Squash bugs (hate them!) always seem to get it before I can get my fill.  It is so frustrating!  Anyway, garden woes aside, I found this bread somewhere (sorry, can't remember where) in December posted as a great neighbor gift and I thought, "Who has blueberries or zucchini in December?"  So I didn't make it until Spring, and boy is it good.  My 16 year old tried it and said, "That is seriously the best bread you have ever made!"  It is very good!  I use frozen berries, but if you have fresh, that is great too.  Enjoy!
Blueberry Zucchini Bread

2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shredded zucchini
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a large loaf pan.  Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugars until well mixed.  Add in zucchini and mix.  Add flours, salt, soda, baking powder and cinnamon and mix.  Fold in blueberries.  Put in pan and bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from middle.  Cool 20 minutes in pan before removing to rack to cool completely.  Yum!  Bring on the zucchini!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans week 16

A fun, record breaking week!  Miss O broke the school record for her winning mile run this week at her huge (20 schools and over 900 athletes) track meet.  She was so excited!  We enjoyed Easter activities, and our annual Easter Egg hunt and pot luck lunch.  Here is a look at our week. . .
Sunday evening my Dad had a meeting for the youth in our church at our house.  It was about art and Christ in art.  It was very good.

Ben helping Miss A with her homework.  Thank heavens he can because I cannot remember anything about trigonometry or chemistry, can anyone else?

Ben got a few of the kids (the ones that would actually wake up) up in the middle of the night to see the lunar eclipse this week.  It was pretty cool.  

Miss O running her record breaking mile.  She did awesome!!  The school record for the middle school was from 1987 and was 5:54.  She ran it in 5:53!!!  She was so cute down on the field when she found out.  She was jumping up and down.  Way to go Miss O!!!

No school Friday so we headed up to the city for some shopping and lunch at Chipotle--of course--one of our favorite places to eat.

Our 8th annual Easter Egg Hunt and Pot Luck lunch.  It was a beautiful day, and everyone had lots of fun!  These kids are already to go get some eggs!

Our family dying Easter eggs.  Did you know you can dye raw eggs?  We do it every year.  You just have to be very careful :).  We made it through without breaking any.  We don't hard boil them because no one but Ben likes hard boiled eggs, and my kids love to dye dozens of eggs, and I don't want to waste them being hard boiled, so we just do them raw.  Everyone likes to experiment with different ways to color the eggs.  Ben and Miss A were using a straw to drip the dye on the eggs.  They looked pretty cool.  

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you had a great Easter weekend!  Come back often!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's up Wednesday--potato cheese soup

 Going along with my last week's Wednesday post, this potato cheese soup was another recipe my DeeDee brought me weekly during my Freshman year of college.  It is such a comfort food to me.  I know soup season is almost gone--hello spring, but this soup is just a classic, and so good!  This is my 'go to' meal whenever I have to take food to someone--- a friend who just had a baby, someone sick, etc.  It is loved by all who have tried it.  Enjoy!

DeeDee's Potato Cheese Soup

Cook in a large pot until tender:
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 stalk celery, cut fine (my family omits this because my kids hate celery in soup)
1 carrot sliced 
1 quart water or chicken brother
5 tsp chicken granules if using water or 1 tsp chicken granules is using chicken broth
frozen peas--about half a bag

Cook until veggies are tender

In another pot make a white sauce:

Melt 1/2 cup butter
Add in 1/2 cup flour and mix
Whisk in 1 1/3 cups milk until mixture is smooth.
Cook until smooth and slightly thickened, then stir into cooked veggies.

Add 8 oz of Velveeta cheese, chopped up.  
Warm and stir until cheese is melted.  Serve.

Yum!  Enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 15

We hit the ground running (literally) this week and haven't slowed down--3 track meets, piano competition and gearing up for all the rest of the spring stuff we have.  Less than 5 weeks of school left--ah!  I feel like we are on a roller coaster and have just reached the top and are speeding down the huge hill like crazy people--yelling and screaming :)  It is lots of fun, but it is sure crazy!!!  Here is a look at our week. . .
Mr J has added some more art to our ART wall, so I figured I better get an updated picture.

Band competition coming up next week.  My two French horn players have been practicing their pieces.  Lots of early morning band practices along with after school track practices and late night track meets make for very long days for these girls.  Summer is something they are so looking forward to!

Track meet #1 of 3 for the week.  Miss O running her mile.  She got first!  Way to go girl!

Track meet #3 of the week.  Miss A running the mile and 2 mile.  She got gold in both.  Way to go girl!!!

Got the house decorated for Easter--love my hanging Easter eggs.  I hang them on fishing line--love fishing line!  

Piano competition for these 3.  They all did awesome and got "1" and gold medals!  The flowers on the campus where they had the competition were so pretty!!

And last but not least, this week was the first lawn mowing of the season--let it begin. . .

Thanks for visiting!  Come back often and have a great day!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday thoughts

My Friday rambling thoughts. . .
my weekly bathroom mirror quote

My traditional hanging Easter Eggs.  I got all decorated for Easter last week.  I love this area of my house.  I hang all sorts of things here for different seasons.

I use fishing line.  I love fishing line!  At Halloween/Thanksgiving I hang mini pumpkins, at Christmas I hang ornaments.  Snowflakes for January, hearts for February.  I need to make me some clovers for March, and then my eggs for Easter.  I like decorating for holidays.  The kids think it is fun to see the different things up and it gets you excited for the season.

I read this book a few weeks ago.  Wow, it kept you guessing.  I thought it was very good and surprising how it ended.  I appreciate books that I can't see the ending right from the beginning or even half way or 3/4 of the way through.  This one kept me guessing till the very end.  It went back and forth in time with each chapter covering a girl's great-grandma's time, her grandma's time, and her time.  This is the first book I have read by this author, and I think I would like to read some more.  She is from Australia.

 I am currently reading this which is the first book in a trilogy and all 3 books are out--which I love.  I hate starting something and having to wait years for the next book (Hello Kristen Britain Green Rider series!)  This is a dystopia society novel set in what used to be the United States of America.  Sort of similar to Divergent and Hunger Games.  There are a lot of mysteries in trying to figure out who is really good in this Republic--who is right, who is wrong, and who do you side with?  A good read!  I am looking forward to the other 2.

Track season is in full swing.  We had 3 meets this week.  Next week we have 4.  Don't know how we are going to do that with everything else going on.  Having kids at different schools with different schedules is tough.  But we figured out only 5 weeks left of school.  5 weeks!!!!   If we can just make it though these next 5 weeks or 35 days of track meets, state voice solos, ACTs, piano competitions, piano recitals, state band performances, choir concerts, band fundraisers, band concerts and life in general--cooking, spelling lists, end of year reports, cleaning, 3 birthdays, church, eating, sleeping (but probably not as much as I would like) early morning seminary, end of the school year activities--then we are okay. ha.ha.  5 weeks--there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  I have to keep telling myself that and be grateful. 

Have a good week!  We are going on a date tomorrow night to see the new Captain American movie. I  am excited!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's up Wednesday--sloppy joes

Sloppy joes are a huge comfort food for me and bring back lots of memories.  I went to college at BYU which was a long, long way from my immediate family, but very close to my extended one--my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  During my freshman year I was extremely blessed that every week my DeeDee and Grum (my maternal grandparents) would make the hour long drive down to see me, take me to dinner and then leave me with some wonderful food that would feed me for about a week until they came down again.  After my freshman year and until I graduated, they still came down often to take me to dinner and bring me food, but usually not weekly.  Man, was I spoiled!!  and very lucky!  One of the dishes my DeeDee would bring me in her weekly rotation was her sloppy joes with a bag of buns and potato chips.  So, this food has been part of my life for a long time.  She made sloppy joes for us when I was growing up, and we would visit her too.  It was from her I learned potato chips are essential when you eat sloppy joes--they are even good on them (My 8 year old boy loves them this way), and sliced sweet pickles and cheese are also essential.  Potato chips are something we seldom eat at our house, but my kids know if sloppy joes are on the menu, then so are potato chips, and sweet pickles and cheese.  Certain things just naturally go together :)  So this is my DeeDee's sloppy joe recipe that helped sustain me and get me through college.  What a blessing!  Thank you DeeDee and Grum!  This is a perfect crock pot recipe and will freeze really well too.
DeeDee's Sloppy Joes

2 lbs hamburger
one onion, chopped fine
one green pepper, chopped fine

Brown the hamburger with the chopped onion and green pepper.  Drain.

Then either put in a crock pot or a big pot on the stove--depending on your time


3/4 cup ketchup
1 can chicken gumbo soup
1 Tab mustard
1 Tab Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix well and simmer an hour in the pot on the stove or cook on low for however long you need it to in a crock pot.  I have made it in the morning and left it on low all day.  I have made it in the afternoon and left it on low for just a few hours. It just needs to heat and let all the flavors blend. Serve with potato chips, sweet pickles, and cheese :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

2014 Blue Jeans Week 14

It was a good week--had some crazy things happen--like the biggest hail we have ever seen--which I posted about Friday, first track meets of the season, and flowers blooming.  Here is a look at our week. . .
April is our piano recital and competitions month.  Mr J and Miss A are doing a duet for their recital end of the month in addition to their individual solos.  It is fun to see/hear them play together!

Last fall I planted over 100 bulbs, and they are finally starting to bloom!  Our first daffodil of the season.

This awesome missionary from our church has been serving in our area for over 5 months.  We have enjoyed having him here, and he is moving on, so we had to get a good-bye picture.

This piece of hail that Ben is holding fell in our yard during a crazy storm Wednesday night.  It was over 4 inches in diameter!!!!  We were sure our roof was destroyed, but amazingly it is fine.  I was also sure all my flowers would be crushed, but they were also all fine.  Small miracles.

Shows some of the hail that feel at our house--a quarter and a golf ball are in there to give you some perspective.  I have never seen hail that big in my life.  Hail is just ice--so those big balls of ice were falling from the sky.  Crazy!

Mr J got the baby chicks out for a little bit today.  Too cute!

Miss O had a 50's sock hop dance tonight.  She and her friend looked so cute and had a blast!  

Did you know Saturday was International table top game day?  Ben got Miss E and Mr J to play one of their favorite games to celebrate--Dominion.

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a great week!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday thoughts--hail

My random Friday thoughts and some pictures of some scary, crazy big hail we had this week. . .
My weekly bathroom mirror inspirational quote.

This hail stone--over 4 inches in diameter--fell in our yard Wednesday night.  I have never, ever seen hail that big.  Hail is just ice, so this is just a huge ice ball that rained down on our home. My husband is holding this one. (excuse all the blurry hail stone pictures.  They were just using my daughter's ipod camera since I wasn't home and had the 'real' camera with me.)

These are some other hail stones that fell Wednesday.  A quarter and a golf ball are in there to compare with.  Have you ever seen hail that big?  Real baseball to softball sized hail. 

This picture has a half dollar in it to compare.

Just CRAZY!  My husband was sure our roof was destroyed, but amazingly it was fine.  Only Ben and Miss E were home to witness this event.  The other kids and I were 2 miles away in town where they not nothing like this--like pea sized hail and lots of rain.  We have 3 cars and only a 2 car garage, but luckily  I had decided to take our car that is normally out into church that night.  It was a very lucky thing I did, because I am sure it would have had windows broken and such with this kind of hail coming down. 

Another miracle, I was sure our trees and all my flowers would be destroyed, smashed, crushed--you would think with 4 inch ice balls falling from the sky.  No, they were all fine.  What a blessing!  This an experience I hope we never see again!  Crazy!

Enjoy your weekend and beware of hail! :)