Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 13

Had a great week.  Had a birthday and enjoyed a wonderful cheesecake!  Loving the signs of spring and all that brings.  Take a look at our week. . .
Happy Birthday to me :)

This was my birthday cake.  Miss O make the cheesecake which was divine, and Ben made the lemon curd to go on top which was also just divine.  Sooooo good!  Shared the recipes on my Wednesday post from last week, so check them out.  Good stuff!  I am spoiled :)

It is the season of burning fields in the country where we live.  This was just down the street from our house.  The farmers burn the fields off to get them ready to plant.  It is cool to see at night.

Went to a great concert of the Messiah to get ready for Easter.  Loved it!!!  

Popcorn trees--that is what we call them anyway, are so beautiful right now!  Love the early signs of spring!

And our chickens are extra busy laying eggs.  We have 7 laying hens.  6 are production reds, and they lay brown eggs--you can see the variety of colors of brown that they lay.  One hen is an Americana and lays the blue/green eggs.  So pretty!

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great week!  Come back soon!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday thoughts. . .

My random Friday thoughts. . .
So often we base our decisions on things that don't last--appearances, wealth, positions, etc.  It is so important that when we make decisions we base them on things that will last.  That we see the bigger picture and not just get caught up in the here and now.  Admittedly this is very hard to do.  It takes the strength to stop and re-evaluate what you are doing and take stock and really look at what matters.  It is what we do that makes us who we are, not what we look like.  It is our heart and kindness that matter, not our dress or shoe size.  It is the concern in our heart, not the color of our hair.  The height of our character, not the height of our jump.  Take time to remember what matters and what really lasts.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's up Wednesday--lemon curd

So I had a birthday this week, and this was my birthday cake.  Yes, you should be very jealous because it was absolutely divine!  The cheesecake my 14 year old Miss O made from Mel's Kitchen Cafe's recipe here.  It was divine, did I mention that already?  Creamy, marvelous flavor, and it didn't crack.  Miss O did a great job!  Then Ben made this amazing lemon curd to go on top of it.  Talk about to.die.for!  The lemon curd was super easy (hello microwave) and quick and sooooo good!  I might have had it on my waffles the next morning for breakfast :)  and the kids had it on ice cream the next day, and Ben keeps just eating it plain with a spoon right out of the fridge.  It is good stuff!  Perfect for spring.  Enjoy!
Lemon Curd
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3 lemons, zested
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a large microwave bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth.  Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and butter.  Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.  It will get thicker as it cools.  Store in the fridge and eat on anything--pancakes, waffles, ice cream, cheesecake, or just plain.  Good stuff!

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 12

Spring break!  Man it was fun and way too short!  It was a much needed break to catch up on some sleep and enjoy time with friends we haven't seen in 17 years!!!  It was a great week.  Take a look. . .
Is there a better way to start spring break than by having donuts for breakfast?  I don't think so.

Our weather was beautiful for part of the break, and we enjoyed a new activity-disc golf.  They just built a course in our town last fall, and we had a blast playing with our friends while they visited.

Enjoyed some ice cream while they were here.  Yum!

And of course for St. Patrick's Day we had our traditional all green dinner.  I think our friends liked it :)

The joy of spring break is that you can relax.  My kids did a lot of reading over the break too, which was good. 

Mr J and his new friend made the most awesome train track in his room!

And the kids just had a great time playing games together and getting to know each other.  They are playing Tenzi here which is a fun dice game.

So about 19 years ago I met this amazing lady.  She and I were both newly married, in college and lived near each other and were in the same church ward (or congregation.)  17 years ago, we graduated college, and went on our way, and they went on theirs.  We have kept in touch over the years via Christmas cards, e-mails, and blogs.  This spring break they drove over 7 hours to visit us, and it was so good to see her and meet her cute boys!  Both my Miss A and her oldest were just a few months old when we last saw each other.  Time flies, but I am grateful for friendships that last no matter how often you see each other.  Thanks for coming!  We love you guys!

After our friends left we enjoyed some time in the city with my sister having lunch at one of our favorite places Chipotle.  Yum!

And we ended a wonderful week on a great note, by attending the temple with these beautiful girls.  It was a great way to end a perfect spring break!  

But back to normal life now--waking up early, homework, track, and all that jazz.  Here we go.  Two months left of school, but who is counting???? :)

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon!

Friday, March 20, 2015

My Friday thoughts. . .

My random Friday thoughts. . .
So important to remember.  This reminds me of his talk The Other Prodigal which is a classic, and if you haven't read it, please do.  It is well worth your time.  

Had spring break this week.  Always nice to have a break.  Had friends come that we haven't seen in 17 years.  Crazy!  So fun to catch up and have our kids meet each other.  Our oldest were just newborns when we last saw them.  So grateful for friendships that last no matter how often you see each other or how long it has been.  Those are friendships to be treasured! 

Have a great weekend!  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What's up Wednesday--apple muffins

Got this recipe about 16 years ago from my dear friend Nadine.  They are so good!  I know it really isn't apple season, but these are so good, you need to make them even when apples aren't in season :)  Thanks Nadine!
Apple Muffins
4 cups diced apples
2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs well beaten
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

4 Tab butter
4 Tab crushed rice krispies or similar cereal
4 Tab brown sugar
4 Tab chopped nuts (optional)

Mix apples and sugar and set aside for 30 minutes.  Add oil and dry ingredients to apple/sugar mix.  Last add eggs, vanilla and nuts if using.  Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.  Mix all topping ingredients together.  Divide topping mix over batter in muffin pans.  Bake 325 for 30-40 minutes.  Yum!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 11

We survived daylight savings time change.  Hate that one.  Our normal early morning seminary time of 5:30 was 4:30 and that was not fun.  So glad it is spring break so we can catch up on some sleep and actually sleep in a day or two this week.  Yeah!  I am so not a happy person to be around if I don't get enough sleep :)  It finally feels like spring is coming to us--weather wise and critter wise, and loved us some pie this week for Pi day.  Take a look at our week.
I was at the kitchen table doing some work when I looked out and saw this in our backyard. Ugh!  I instantly texted Ben and told him.  He texted back, "Throw rocks at it or shoot it."  I replied, "Do you want me to get sprayed?  and shoot it with what?  One of the kids' Nerf guns?"  I watched it crawl through our yard and onto the neighbors and into a field.  Joys of country living and a sure sign of spring--skunks!

Major high school band day this week.  We hosted league band which was pretty cool.  Miss A and O on their French horns.  The band sounded amazing as always!

Wednesday night youth group.  We did some yard work at the church and celebrated with pie.  Yum!

Ben and the kids enjoying a beautiful evening.  One nice thing about daylight savings is it stays lighter later, which I do like.  

For PI Day we wanted to make something yummy.  Ben wanted to do a lemon meringue pie--his mom's amazing recipe.  I wanted to just top the lemon with whipping cream, but he insisted, so he made the meringue.  For never having done that, it turned out really good.

The girls enjoy the weather and reading on the front porch swing.

Happy Pi Day!  We enjoyed homemade lemon meringue and chocolate cream.  Yum!

Hope you have a great week!  Come back soon!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday thoughts

My random Friday thoughts
My quote for the week.  Simple and basic, but so true.  I tell my kids this basically every day.  This is what matters, not your shoe size or your pant size, or your hair style, but working hard and being nice to people.  That is what matters,.

Along those same lines, I am reading a great book now about an amazing person who worked/works very hard.  Who had an amazing mother who helped him to work hard and turn his life around.

It is Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson.  He was one of the worst students in his 5th grade class. He really struggled in school.  His mom was a single mother, that didn't now how to read and cleaned houses.  She was raising her boys in the ghettos of Detroit.  She barely made ends meet, but she wanted more for her two boys.  One day she noticed that the successful people who she cleaned houses for had lots of books and read them.  She came home from work, turned off the TV that her two boys were watching and told them from then on they needed to go to the library and read 2 books a week. She wanted a report on each at the end of the week.  They were only allowed to watch 2 TV shows a week.  Of course they whined and complained, but she had laid down the law.  That was it, so they went to the library, and read.  By 7th grade Ben was at the top of his class.  He attended Yale on a scholarship and went to John Hopkins medical school.  At the age of 33 he became John Hopkins chief of pediatric neurosurgery and a world-renowned surgeon--separating Siamese twins successfully.  It is an amazing story--a true story.

Our library also had a movie of this story that our whole family watched this past weekend.  It was very good and a testament to the power of a mother and prayer and hard work.  I would highly recommend it.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What's up Wednesday--crock pot BBQ chicken

If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know how much I love crock pot recipes.  They are my favorite!  I love, love, love just throwing stuff in the morning and then having a wonderful dinner ready in the evening.  Makes my life so much easier.  This recipe is my amazing mother-in-law's, and she normally cooks it on the stove top, but I have adjusted it and always make it in the crock pot now.  So easy, and so delicious!  It is one of our family's favorites!  We always serve it over rice, but you can have it however you like.  Hope you like it!
Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

Put 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts in your crock pot, if they are frozen, that is fine :)

In another bowl mix together
3/4 cup ketchup
2 Tab brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped onion, or 1 Tab dehydrated onion
2 Tab vinegar
2-3 tsp chili powder, depending upon how hot your family likes things, I use 2 tsp
1 Tab Worcestershire sauce

After mixture is combined, pour over chicken in crock pot.  Cook on low about 6-7 hours, take out chicken and shred, then put it back into the sauce and serve over rice.  Yum!

Monday, March 9, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 10

We had a great week.  Big snowstorm over the weekend and got to play in the snow, and then it turned warm enough to warrant shorts and t-shirts. Crazy!  Our basketball season is done, so that means pep band is done, and then Miss A's Life Smart team made it to nationals!  Here is a look at our week. . .
Enjoying the snow--Miss O and Mr J have a snow ball fight

Ben and Miss E work on making a snowman.

And here is their creation.  Love it!  

And then 3 days later, this is our weather.  Crazy!  But we are ready for spring, so we will take it. Mr J and Miss A love the trampoline.

Last basketball game of the season was this week, so last pep band performance.  Miss A and Miss E with their amazing band director!  We can't say enough good about this guy.  He is just plain awesome!
Miss A is on a Life Smarts team--which is basically a quiz bowl team, they answer questions about personal fiance, technology, health and safety, and the environment.  They made it to the state competition this week, and then won state, so they are headed to national next month!!!!  Way to go team!

Thanks for visiting!  Hope you have a great week!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday thoughts--

my random Friday thoughts. . .
We can do so much more than we think.  We have so much more potential than we realize.  We just need to trust in our Heavenly Father and let Him guide us.  We are His sons and daughters.  He will never leave us, even if we sometimes shut Him out.  Do your best and put things in the Lord's hands and He will guide and direct you and make you much more than you could ever had been on your own.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What's up Wednesday--Andes Mint Cookies

These are one of our family's favorite cookie recipes, which says a lot because I have tons of cookie recipes, but these definitely stand out.  Our library had a chocolate sale on Valentine's day last year to raise some money.  I made these to sell.  When I saw they were doing it again this year, I signed up to bring these again.  When the library ladies saw I was signing up they asked, "Are you going to bring those mint cookies again?"  They remembered.  So, I made several plates for this year.  The sale started at 9 and by 10, all my mint cookie plates were sold.  They are good cookies!  I found the recipe on Becky Higgins' website many years ago.  I don't know if she still has it one there, but thank you Becky for sharing!  I have doubled and tripled and even quadrupled this recipe because I have made them for cookie plates at Christmas.  It works well, you just have to cool it longer in the fridge if you double it.  These also freeze well, if there are any leftover, which at our house isn't very often. 
Andes Mint Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tab. water

Melt the above in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, then add

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until completely melted.

Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.  Pour into a mixing bowl and beat in

2 eggs

then add:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together and chill for 45 minutes to an hour. Roll into balls about 1 1/2 inches big, or I use the medium pampered chef cookie scoop.  Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake 350 for 10 minutes.  You do not want these over-baked. Under-baked is much better than over.  These are a really soft cookie.

When the cookies come out of the oven, place an Andes mint on top of each cookie and allow to melt for a few minutes.  Swirl the melted chocolate like icing and allow to cool completely.  One bag of Andes mints will easily do one batch of cookies with a few leftover.


Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 Blue Jeans Week 9

We had a great week.  It started out nice and warm and ended with a blizzard!  Miss O finished her basketball season.  Miss A and Miss E got to play pep band for a division 1 women's college basketball game and we went to the game!  Mr J had his cub scouts blue and gold banquet.  Cool stuff!  Here is a look at our week. . .

I neglected to get this recorded, but this is my valentine from Miss E.  So cute!  I wanted to make sure it made it in the scrapbook.  

A nice warm day this week so Miss E and Mr J enjoyed some time on the trampoline.

Cub scout blue and gold banquet this week.  Mr J, his scout troop and his amazing leaders!  It was a nice evening!

Had a wonderful day with my girlfriends.  We had lunch and made these cute burlap wreaths.  So grateful for good friends! And so fun to make something cute :)

Today we had the amazing opportunity to listen to the author Wendelin Van Draanen speak.  She has written lots of books, but the one she was visiting with us about was The Running Dream which is excellent!  Mr J and I got to meet her and get our books signed.  She was an excellent presenter!

And the university women's basketball game.  The band is up there on the left.  Miss A is in there paying her mellophone and Miss E in there playing her trombone.  It was a really fun game to be at and hear the band play.  They did excellent!   

And after our nice warm start to the week, this was our end of the week.  I was not sure why Ben was shoveling right in the middle of the storm.  It snowed about 3 more inches after he shoveled it, so it had to be done again, but I guess he was bored :) It was a beautiful snow storm, and nice that we had no where to go, so we could enjoy it from inside.  Church was canceled, so we had a very nice and relaxing weekend indoors admiring the snow.  

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon!  Hope you have a great week!