Thursday, November 29, 2012

Y and Z

Well, my last thankful post. Forgot to post quite a few days, but at least I finished before December!
Y
Yogurt. I'm so thankful to have yogurt! Such a yummy healthy snack. I've recently really gotten into Greek yogurt. My favorite is Yoplait honey vanilla Greek yogurt. Add a little granola to it and you've got on great snack!!!

Z
Zoo. So thankful that there are zoos that I can take my kids to and teach them all about animals they otherwise would never get to see in real life. Such a fun experience for young kids! Sure wish we had a zoo close to us.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

X

Xtraordinary mom blog. That doesn't really start with x, but the only other word I could think of was xylophone.
I'm so thankful for this blog. It has been such a great outlet for me to get all my thoughts out. Thankful to all of you for reading :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

W

Wahlen.
I'm SO thankful to be a Wahlen. So thankful for the wonderful family I married into. So thankful I get to be a part of this great clan where you really have a lot to live up to I'd you want to wear the Wahlen name. Such a great family!!

V

Variety.
I'm thankful for the variety we have in our world. Thankful that there are so many different people out there. What would our world be like of we were all the same? Boring I tell you, Boring!
I'm thankful that a lot of people out there are not afraid to be different and express who they are. Hopefully we can all learn to be a little more accepting of those who choose to bring variety to our world.

U

Universities.
I'm thankful that there are so many universities for us to attend to gain knowledge. Thankful for all the teachers and the many other people that make that education possible. Now if only we could make that education guarantee us a job!

T

Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for this holiday that makes me really sit back and look at all I have and realize everything I have to be thankful for. Not to mention all the great food there is to eat :)

S

Shoes.
So thankful that I have shoes to protect my feet and keep them warm. I know there are many people out there who are not as lucky as me to have shoes. I've often complained that I don't have enough shoes or comfy shoes, but I need to be thankful for what I do have and stop complaining.
Another thing that makes me so thankful for shoes is that no matter what my waist size is, no matter if I gain weight or not my shoe size will never change and I can always have cute shoes to make me happy :)

R

Rain.
I am thankful for rain and all the moisture it brings. I never truly realized the importance of rain until I married my husband who grew up on a farm.
I also have a lot of fun memories in the rain growing up. Almost every time it rained we'd have toothpick races. It was the best! :)

Q

Hmmm...Q is a hard one. Ok, got it...Quotes!
Lately on Facebook a lot of quotes have been going around. I'm thankful for all the inspirational quotes I read on a daily basis. It's amazing how reading one good quote and instantly change the outlook of your day. Since Quote is my thankful Q word, I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
"A study of the doctrines of the Gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."
-Boyd K. Packer

P

Produce.
I am so thankful for the produce at the grocery store. I'm so thankful that it is so readily available. What a blessing to have such healthy fresh food pretty much anywhere we go.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

O

Oil.
Yes, I am thankful for oil.  Mainly the oil fields.  If it weren't for the oil fields my husband would be unemployed and I'm not sure where we'd be or what we'd be doing.  Even though Kirk has been working in the oil fields for almost a year now I am no where near an expert at knowing what exactly goes on there, but he is good at what he does and it provides us a steady income so I'm happy! :) Way to go Kirk!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

N

Nutella.
I've been very sentimental with most of my thankful posts so I thought I'd switch it up today :)
I'm so very thankful for nutella. It is soooooo delicious!!!  If you haven't tried it you are totally  missing out.  I recently discovered nutella with pretzels.  Can you say yum?!  Peanut butter and nutella sandwiches are amazing...like having a reese's cup for lunch :)  I do love nutella but because I am trying  NOT to aid my food addiction I do not have any in my cupboard and don't plan on buying it for a while.  I will just have to savor the memories I have. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

M

Mom and medicine.
I am SO thankful for my Mom.  She is such a great woman.  She has always been there for me and lent me her love and support even when I was not making the best choices.  Through all the trials in my life her love for me has never changed.  I'm thankful that she taught me the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that she lives them herself.  I loved that she always let me be her little side kick growing up.  I remember lots of times being in the kitchen "helping" with dinner (or just watching her make dinner), and I loved every time I got to go to the grocery store or run any other errands with her.  I still enjoy that :)  I'm thankful she taught me how to be a good mother and wife--she really taught through example.  I'm grateful she is one of my best friends and that I can call her with anything.  She has definitely been a shoulder for me to cry on sometimes and I'm thankful for that and that she always gives me advice to get me back on my feet.  I know I've put her and my dad through a lot, but I'm so glad they never stopped loving me and welcomed me with open arms as soon as I was ready to turn my life around.  I'm thankful for all their prayers in my behalf.  Love you Mom (and Dad!) :)
I'm also thankful that I am blessed to be a Mom myself.  Thankful for the two wonderful children I have.  They are such a blessing in our family and have completely changed me for the better.  I look forward to all the other wonderful children that will come join our family :)
I'm incredibly thankful for modern medicine.  Without it, I think William would have been an only child, haha.  But in all seriousness if it weren't for modern medicine and all the technology we have William and I probably wouldn't have survived his birth.  Though I try not to use medicine too much, it is such an incredible blessing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

L

Lights and Love.
I'm so thankful to live in these modern times where we are blessed with great luxuries such as lights.  Especially thankful for them now as there are many back east without power :(
I am so thankful for love.  So thankful that I have someone to love, thankful that someone loves me back :) thankful for the indescribable love I have for my children.  Where would we be with out love?  It's such a beautiful thing...though not always an easy thing. Here is great quote about love from one of my favorite movies, Dan In Real Life: "Love is not a feeling. It's an ability"-Marty

I'd also like to add a little to K.
Kenton and Kiersten my older brother and sister.
I was going to write about it yesterday but then got carried away writing all about Kirk :) and totally forgot!
I'm thankful for Kenton. He is such a great big brother and I really look up to him. He has always been a great friend to me and such a good example of how we all should live our life.  When I was about 16 or 17 and he was still living at home we would stay up late a lot of nights just talking and he would give me lots of great advice about dating.  I even remember when I was going to a dance in junior high he taught me how to slow dance with guys.  When he showed me that I hold their hand and put my hand on their shoulder I looked at him and said, "Uh, that's not how everyone else dances. Everyone else kind of hugs each other." He said, "No. You do not to the bear hug.  If a guy asks you to dance, you put out your hand." Not sure if I followed his advice or not, but I'm thankful that he was always looking out for me. He was definitely one of those over protective brothers-but in a good way :)
I'm SO thankful for my sister Kiersten.  She truly is one of my best friends.  She is quite a few years older than me so when I was young we weren't super close, but always got a long great!(at least that I can remember).  It wasn't until she was in college that we really became great friends.  We shared a room when she would come home every summer and even though sometimes I'm sure I drover her crazy, I'm glad we had that time together.  I'll never forget all the times we drove the blue honda civic (making sure to bring water along in case it over heated) around town shopping and listening to the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack.  I'd always ask Kiersten to take me shopping and tell her that I'd buy her krispy kreme if she did.  Worked every time :)  Shopping with Kiersten was good for me because she really taught me how to bargain shop.  When I was in college I use to call her EVERY Sunday, but now we talk sometimes almost every day.  I love that I can call her with no purpose other than to chat.  She is such a great sister and friend!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Giving Thanks



A few years ago my sister started doing thankful posts on her blog for the month of November.  She would do a letter of the alphabet for each day up until Thanksgiving (or the 26th).  I've decided to take on that tradition as well, though I can't always think of just one thing per day. She also has her kids answer and they write it on a "feather" for their thankful turkey.  Maybe I'll do that next year.

Anyway, I've been doing this, but just on Facebook.  Thought I'd add it here as well, and elaborate a little more on some of them. 

A-

Annabelle and Alan. I am so thankful that Annabelle joined our family this year. She is such a sweet happy baby and her sweet spirit is such a joy to have in our home. She eats so well, sleeps great (through the night!), and is very happy and content when she is awake...what a blessing. She also is pretty cute too :) We seriously could not have been blessed with a better baby (of course I think I said that with William, and I'll probably say it with every other baby we have).

Alan is my oldest brother.  He is such an awesome guy! Growing up we weren't really close since there is a 10 year gap between us, but now that we're older 10 years doesn't seem like such a big gap.  I remember after his mission, before he got married we would watch all the Kings games together.  It was so fun and I loved that even though I was his little sister he made me feel like his friend.  He is my only sibling that lives semi-close to me so I get to see him more often which I love!  Him and his wife are always so willing to let me come over and hang out with them if I'm in town.  He is such a great Uncle to my kids and William loves going to his house.  A few months back him and his wife so generously offered to watch William overnight so that Kirk and I could have a night away before the baby came.  That was one of the nicest things, and they even took him to the zoo!  I love how laid back Alan is, how easy he is to get a long with, and his sense of humor.  He always keeps me laughing.  So thankful also that Alan was very smart in choosing a wife, because if you know Marisa you know he hit the jackpot.  Love you both!!

B-

Bobby pins. You're thinking, "really??" but yes, I am very thankful for bobby pins. They are a saving grace for my crazy hair sometimes.

C-

Chester and Carla. I am very thankful for Grandpa Chester and Grandma Carla. Grandpa Chester was such a fun, loving man. I loved every time I got to visit with him, he always made me feel welcome. I loved how much he loved my kids and how he always wanted to give William rides on his electric wheelchair. He was such a great example to me of a true follower of Christ. I sure miss him!! I'm also so thankful for Grandma Carla. I'm thankful for her kind heart and how much she selflessly serves others. She is always so willing to help out in any way. I love visiting with her and can't wait to go up to Idaho an see her again.

D-

Dad's and Disney. I'm so incredibly thankful for my Dad. He is the best example of ANYONE I know of giving so willingly of his time and serving others. I know that if we truly needed my Dad's help with anything he would be there in a second to help. He even mowed our lawn 
and helped fix our little golf cart while he was here on vacation visiting us. My Dad is such a great person to be around and visit with.
Another great Dad in my life is my father-in-law. Thinking about it both my Dad and father-in-law have a lot in common. They are both very willing to help us anytime and call us often just to chat and keep in touch-I love that about both of them! My father-in-law is always full of great advice for us and I love that!
Disney, because lets be honest they really have made this world a better place :) love their movies and Disneyland really is one of the happiest places on earth (unless you went there with me and William two years ago, hahaha!)

E-
Eggs. I am thankful for eggs because William LOVES them! I was just thinking about all the great things I make with eggs, and without them I would be missing out on a lot of great food!
So...which came first, the chicken or the egg??
F-
Freedom and faith. So thankful to live in this free country. Thankful to all those who have and continue to fight for those freedoms.
I'm also so thankful for our Heavenly Father's plan and that he gives us our agency and the freedom to make our own decisions. Though I may not always make the best choices, I'm thankful that He lets me make those choices so I can learn from them.
I'm so thankful for my faith in my Heavenly Father and his plan for us.  I'm thankful for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that has taught me what faith is.  Without it I would be a very lonely and sad person.
G-
Gym. I'm thankful that I have a gym that I can go work out at. Going to the gym is definitely therapy for me.  I'm thankful that the gym here has a child care center included in my membership so I can still workout even when Kirk is at work. I really need to take advantage of my gym membership more, but I am thankful that when I choose to go it's there--such a stress reliever!!
H-
Henrie (my maiden name for those who don't know). I'm thankful to be a Henrie. Though I'm a Wahlen now, I'll still always be a Henrie :) thankful for my Henrie family; they are so fun to be around and ALWAYS keep me laughing!! I sure wish they lived a little closer so I could see them more often. I love how willing each of my Henrie Aunt and Uncles are so supportive of me and my family. Thankful for my Grandma Henrie and her love for her family. I love getting emails from her and she has made some beautiful quilts for me and my kids. She is such a strong woman and a great example to me :) 

I-

Ice cream. I'm thankful for ice cream, even though it makes me fat :) It just makes everything better.  Now if only they could make a calorie, fat, and carb free ice cream that tastes good!

J-

Jana. I am so thankful for my sister Jana. I have so many fun memories with her. Growing up we did almost everything together. We had a lot of the same friends, same hobbies, same music interests, etc. We really were so much alike which also caused us to fight..a lot; but now that we're all grown up she really is one of my best friends. I love that I can tell her something is "Bomb-Diggity" and she gets it, hahaha! I remember doing so many fun things with her like...showing eachother the gifts we got each other on Christmas Eve, going to Wishing Well all the time to get Spice Girl suckers and gum, singing and dancing to the Spice Girls (blasting it as loud as we could in our living room), sneaking out of our beds to watch Home Improvement, playing school, sleepovers after she moved out into her own apt, and all those nights of folding papers together while watching Toy Story.<---Jana somehow would ALWAYS get me to help her fold papers for her paper route, but then she would always fall asleep during the movie and I'd end up folding most of them.  Then she'd beg me and beg me to help her deliver, and for some reason I always said yes!  So I always ended up being the one holding all the papers.  Yeah, not quite sure how that happened, lol.  She is so fun to hang out with; just wish she lived closer so we could hang out more! She really has been there for me through a lot of tough times in my life. She is such a great mother, sister, and friend, and has THE cutest (besides Annabelle of course :)) little girl. If you know my sister Jana, consider yourself lucky :)
K-

 Kirk. I am SO thankful for Kirk! He is such a great husband, and a perfect match for me. He supports me through my trials and helps me to become better every day. I am so thankful for his example to me. I'm thankful for him being a great Father to our children. I love the way he plays with them every chance he gets and is always such a great example to them. I'm also thankful that Kirk knows when I've had a rough day and is so willing to just jump in and cook dinner, help out with the kids, or whatever I need.
Things haven't always been easy for us, but I'm so thankful for all the fun times we've had and will continue to have like......  

 -getting the nickname of sweat heart ;)   

-going to a YSA halloween dance after we were married and I was 5 months pregnant :)

-the many many movie date nights   

-Seeing Phantom of the Opera in Vegas on our honeymoon...not to mention the Walgreens adventure we had there as well<---yeah, not one of my favorite memories, lol.   

-Driving up into the South Hills almost every week when we lived in Twin Falls   

-Eating our first breakfast in our apt using our suitcases as a table and our camping chairs to sit on (the only furniture we had at the time)   

-bringing him homemade chocolate chip cookies to work   

-working (almost) along side him at Sportsmans Warehouse   

-Fishing at Dierkies lake in Twin Falls   

-That moment we KNEW we should start our family   

-Our time spent together at the Hospital when William was born.  None of our family was there until about 3 hours after he was born, such a great experience to know that "We did it!" all on our own.   

-When Annabelle was born and becoming a family of 4.  Seeing the look on William's face when he first met his little sister :)

Yeah, I could go on FOREVER! :)   Anyway, I love you Babe! 

Stay tuned for more!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Life's Lemons


Life has given me lemons, but I have definitely not been making lemonade (at least not by my understanding of this phrase). 
I'm not sure that I want to share all of this, but I'm hoping that sharing my thoughts and feelings with you will help me.  I usually write in my journal, but when I'm feeling down those journal entries just tend to fuel the fire and are just down right depressing.  Anyway.....
I have a problem.  I have an addiction.  In all seriousness, I am addicted to food, specifically sweets.  I know some of you may read this and think "me too!" or "it's okay, everyone loves food" but for me it is not okay. Yes it is an addiction, no it is not just a love of food.  When I'm depressed, upset, sad, etc, I eat and eat and eat.  If there are sweets around I devour them until they are gone.  I can't just have one cookie, I have to eat them all or eat until I am sick.  It's gotten to the point where I am eating in secret because I don't want my husband to know I eat as much as I do.  I'm embarrassed, I'm ashamed.  Most importantly though, I don't want this to be how my kids remember me.
So I'm an emotional eater and I get in this terrible cycle where (as I mentioned above) I eat when I'm upset, then that makes me more depressed, which makes me want to eat more--and I do, EVERY TIME!  Today for example I was doing great all day.  I even went for a 2 mile run and did a TON of ab exercises and pushups.  Later in the day I got upset and started eating sweets and pretty much any kind of food in the house that sounded just a tiny bit appetizing.  The candy I was eating wasn't even really that good but just having it made me "feel better." 
I'm getting really upset because I literally hate every aspect of my body right now.  I only weigh 12 lbs less than when my daughter was born and my stomach is bigger than it's ever been.  Most people I talk to just say, "It's okay, you just had a baby, give it some time, you'll lose it in no time" well that's what I thought too after having my son, and 2 1/2 years later when I got pregnant with baby #2 I still hadn't lost all the baby weight.  I know everyone is just trying to be nice and help me feel better but I'm sick of it!  I don't need any excuses.  I give myself enough excuses every single minute of every day.
I really am at a loss of what to do.  I know I shouldn't eat as much as I do, but I just don't know how to say no!  A lot of people just say to not buy the sweets and junk so you won't eat it, but if I don't have it in the house then I'll just go buy it.  It's a serious disease.  I just wish I hated food and never had the desire to eat, then maybe I'd be a lot healthier, skinnier, and happier.  I know looks aren't everything, but they sure are something, and what's in the mirror now is NOT what I want to see!  I'm not being hard on myself, I'm just finally being honest with myself.
My purpose in writing this is not to try and get sympathy or for you to give me compliments or help me rationalize my behavior.  My purpose was to get my thoughts out and hopefully get some feedback of tips or ideas on what I can do to beat my addiction.  I love all the feedback I usually get from my blog posts, but PLEASE if you are just going to comment and say, "Don't be so hard on yourself" "You look great", etc. no offense, but I'd rather not hear it; at least not today.  I need HELP, not sympathy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Patience

Patience.  Such a hard thing to have sometimes.  My patience is currently being tested as I wait for our baby girl to arrive.  Really, I should be more patient and not complaining, but it's just a little hard.  I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow and since my first came 9 days early I keep expecting this one to come early as well.
Some of you may know this, but I'm having the baby up in Idaho because we don't have any insurance yet in Utah.  I'm staying with my in-laws until baby girl comes, so at least I have a place to stay while I wait.  So grateful for family!  My husband's work was slow this past weekend so he came up here for 4 days.  Since I have been getting some contractions we tried anything and everything we could to get labor going, but no success...well, at least not with labor.  A week ago the Dr was concerned that the baby might be breech.  Today when I was checked we found that she has dropped and is not breech so that was wonderful news!!  The only downer at the appointment was that I'm still not dilated.  That being said, my husband left to go back home (6 hours away).  I wouldn't have been so sad about not being dilated today, but I'm just SO worried that if I suddenly go into labor like I did with my first, I'm afraid my husband won't make it in time.  With my son I was checked on a Monday and was not dilated or effaced at all, then 4 days later my water broke!  8 hours after my water broke my son was here.  So, you can see where there might be some concern. 
Anyway, just needed to vent my frustrations a little.  I guess I will just have to try and have faith in the Lord's timing and wait...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Free craft day for kids at Michael's!

Did you know that Michael's offers free crafts for kids ages 3 and up?  I just found out and am pretty excited.  I don't have a Michael's near me, but while I'm staying with my in-laws in Idaho for about a month I'll be near one.  I'll have to try and take William before baby girl arrives.
To see the schedule for June, click here

Family pictures on a budget

We recently had our first family photo session.  Since our wedding (4 1/2 years ago!) this is the first time we've ever had someone else take our pictures--besides the occasional "Hey, will you take our picture real quick?" to a stranger.  I've been wanting to get good family pictures for a long time, but we've just never really had the money for it.  This time we decided we were willing to spend some money for good quality pictures, but in the end it didn't cost us a dime!  I LOVE when I can save some money!!
I wanted pictures outside, so hopefully they would seem more natural looking and let's face it, trying to get a 3 year old boy to pose in a studio just didn't seem like a possibility for us (at least not with our toddler).  I have a photographer friend who we were going to pay to do our pictures, but that ended up not working out, since she lives out of town.  We then decided we just needed someone, anyone to just take the pictures and we would edit them.  In talking to one of my friends I found out she use to do photography for weddings and such.  Awesome!  She was nice enough to give of her time and spend 2+ hours doing ours for FREE!!  She said she hadn't taken any pictures in over 4 years, but I was sure impressed with how they all turned out.  So thankful for such great friends--I owe you Ali! :)
So she took all the pictures, then I spent the time editing.  We recently bought adobe photoshop, but I have not yet learned how to use it, so the following pictures were edited on our Mac.  I was amazed at how simple it was and how great they turned out!  If you don't have a Mac, there are so many great photo editing sites online for the low price of FREE! :) I just googled "free online photo editing" and came up with a dozen or so sites.
For Mac users: For all the pictures, I first clicked the "enhance" button, then if they needed further editing, I went into the effects section and went on from there. A lot of the pictures I boosted the color (under effects) just to help them stand out more, but sometimes it did make the pictures too dark so I had to lighten a little.  Here are a few examples of pictures I edited and what I did.  

Changed to black and white, then clicked vignette for the black edge.
 Boosted the colors, then added the edge blur.
 Sometimes just simply changing the picture to black and white can do so much for the emotion in the photo.
 Changed to sepia, added edge blur, then matte.  Love how this one turned out!
 For this one all I did was boost the color.
 Just a quick boost of the color.
 Antique setting.  I liked the antique setting for some of the pictures of my son on the tractors and such, since the tractors are antiques.

All-in-all, here is what I have learned about saving money on family pictures:
  • You do not need to go to a studio, or necessarily even have a professional take the pictures, though it was nice that our friend has lots of experience! 
  • A little bit of quick photo editing goes a long way--I spent less than 30 seconds editing some of these.
  • There are so many new photographers out there who are willing to do free or dirt cheap photo sessions to expand their portfolio-don't be afraid to ask!
  • It is best to have someone with a dslr camera take the pictures.  It seems almost everyone now has one, so I'm sure if you talk to your friends you'll find one.
  • If you are taking them outside, make sure to do it early morning, or evening.  We did ours around 7pm and it was perfect!  The natural lighting helps a lot with the quality of the photos.
Hope this was helpful, thanks for reading!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas



This is a recipe I learned about 7 years ago back in high school, but it has to be one of my very favorite dishes to make.  It's so delicious!  I've made it for a lot of friends, neighbors, and family.  Almost everyone that I make it for asks for the recipe, so I thought I'd share it with all of you.
Before I begin though, let me make you aware that not all measurements are exact.  You kind of just have to use your best judgement in deciding the consistency you like for your enchiladas.
Ingredients:
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • about 1/2 lb pepper jack cheese, grated 
  • 8 oz fat free cream cheese
  • about 1 1/2 cups green chile enchilada sauce (I usually use medium for a little extra kick, but if you don't prefer spicy things, or maybe have kids, I'd go with mild)
  • 10-12 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
  • 1-2 cubes (depending on size) chicken bouillon (optional)
Directions:
First, boil all the chicken with the chicken bouillon.  If you don't have bouillon don't worry.  A lot of times I don't use it and I really can not tell a difference.  Though, if I have it on hand and remember, I'll usually throw in a cube or two. 
While chicken is cooking start cooking rice, and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.   Rice is not in the original recipe but a year or so ago my husband and i decided to start adding it.  It just makes the recipe go a lot further, and rice is cheap so we've been doing it ever since!
After chicken is cooked, shred and place in large bowl.
 Next, add cream cheese, a couple handfuls of pepper jack cheese, and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup enchilada sauce.
 Mix ingredients together.  I use my kitchen aid with the hook attachment because it makes it so much easier, but before I had a kitchen aid I just used my hands.  Don't worry about getting messy, you will be messy by the end of this-especially if you cook like me :)
After chicken, sauce, and cheeses are mixed thoroughly, add in rice.  Mix again.
Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce in baking dish.  Just enough to coat the bottom so the enchiladas don't stick--though almost every time I make these they stick a little to the dish anyway.
 I usually bake 10-12 enchiladas in a 9"X13" oven safe baking dish.
 Pour more sauce on a plate.  Coat tortilla on both sides with sauce, then add chicken mixture.  Roll up tortilla and place in baking dish.
 Top enchiladas with sauce and pepper jack cheese.  Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Enchiladas are done when cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.  I like my enchiladas to be a little bit crispy, so I bake them until cheese starts to lightly brown.
ENJOY!
Tips for good enchiladas:
  • Don't crowd enchiladas in pan
  • Don't underbake-nothing like taking a bite of something that is cold inside.
  • If you plan to have leftovers, make sure to eat them in a day or two.  They tend to go soggy fairly quick.  If I know I'm making more than we'll eat I just bake what we'll eat that night, then prepare the rest, cover, and put in the fridge to bake later in the week.
For a healthier variation, you can:
  • Prepare with brown rice, instead of white
  • Use whole wheat tortillas
  • Cut back on the cheese.  I  tend to use maybe a little more cheese than necessary, because it's just so yummy! :)
If you enjoyed this, share it on Pinterest!



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Marriage

My sweet husband sent me this picture today that he took while working, along with a text that said:
"Our marriage is like this.  Some times are rough but when you take a good look at it, it's really beautiful"
My heart melted :) How thoughtful and true is that?!  All marriages are hard and take a lot of work, but we need to always remember why we got married in the first place, and remember all those beautiful things about our spouse that we love.  If it weren't for our trials, I don't think we'd really appreciate the great times.  So thankful for a loving husband that I get to spend eternity with.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eliminating the unncessary

Society makes you think that when you have a child you first need to have a bassinet for them, then a crib, then a toddler bed, then a full or twin bed.  Wow, that is a lot of furniture, and A LOT of money!  Here in my household we have a much different opinion.  When our son was born we had a very very tiny one bedroom, so of course he slept in our room.  We had a crib only because it was a family crib of my in-laws that they let us use.  When we moved and our son outgrew his crib we started looking around for a bed.  Both my husband and I saw no use in  a toddler bed because when he outgrew that we'd have to buy yet another bed.  We knew we wanted more children so we decided the best route to go was to get a bunk bed.  Best decision ever!!  


 Our son can use this bed well into his teenage years, and then we have an extra bed for guests.  Because we didn't have a lot of storage space we decided to completely set up the bunk bed, but instead of setting up two beds, we use the top bunk as a loft for our son to play with his cars and toy trains.  He loves to climb up there to play and it saves on floor space.  My husband just cut out a piece of plywood the size of the bed, then covered it with some old carpet.  Very stable (even for me) and lots of fun for our son and his friends.
So, if you're deciding on whether or not to get a toddler bed.....I say no!  Go the bunk bed route and save some money in the long run!


P.S. The only advice I'd give in buying bunk beds is to buy really good quality, sturdy ones, even though they will be quite a bit more it makes all the difference in the world!  We didn't have a lot of money at the time, so we just bought this set form Walmart.  We've moved a few times since then and they have gotten pretty banged up.  I really wish we would have bought the set that Deseret Industries sells (in their line of brand new furniture).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How to keep strawberries fresh longer

I LOVE strawberries, but am famous for not eating them all before they go bad.  Here is a really simple and quick way to make your strawberries last twice as long!
 Mix 1 part distilled white vinegar and 10 parts water (I did 1 cup vinegar, 10 cups water).
Let strawberries soak in vinegar and water for about 3-4 minutes.  The vinegar kills any mold spores and bacteria that cause the strawberries to rot.
 Drain, then store in uncovered container in fridge. I cut the lid off the original container from store so I didn't have to dirty another dish.
And there you have it, another simple way to save some money, and some food!  Oh, and no worries, your strawberries will NOT taste like vinegar.


Remember, if you love it, PIN IT!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pregnancy 101: Advice for new Moms

 Just for fun, here's a comparison picture from my 2 pregnancies





26 weeks pregnant with my son








                                   
















                                                     







25 weeks pregnant with my daughter












Let me start this post by saying that I do not consider myself an expert at pregnancy/motherhood, but I'm hoping that since I've gone through one (and almost 2!) complete pregnancies that I can offer some advice to all you first time moms.  I have a few friends that are pregnant for the first time and as to be expected there are a lot of questions.  I'm here to hopefully answer most or all of those questions.


Common pregnancy concerns:


  • Consuming sushi.  There are so many things that we as pregnant women are told not to eat.  Most of you know that I LOVE sushi, so when my co-workers told me that I shouldn't eat it I almost died.  No sushi for 9 months?!  I asked my doctor and he told me that it is okay to eat sushi while pregnant.  Obviously you want to stay away from fish with high mercury levels (mackerel king, shark, swordfish, tilefish, bluefish, etc. For an extended list, click here).  The only advice my dr. gave me on the fish subject was to not have a big salmon every night.  He said once of twice a week was okay.  So all you sushi loving preggos, feel free to dig in!! :)
  • Eating deli meats. This one is a whole new thing to me.  With pregnancy #1 I had never heard this, so I ate deli meat.  I never had any issues at all, so I guess I lucked out.  In doing some reading, the reason for this is because raw meats, raw vegetables, un pasteurized milk, etc can be contaminated with a bacteria called listeria monocytogenes.  Pregnant women are 20% more likely to be infected.  According to the CDC 1,700 people are infected each year and about 260 will die from it.  The chance of a pregnant woman getting it is about 17%.  For more information and what the symptoms are, click here. I was a little skeptical of this at first, but in researching I see that this could definitely be a concern.  I did read though that as long as the meats are heated up it kills the bacteria and is okay to be consumed.  So, if you love a good deli sandwich just remember to say, "Yes!" when they ask you if you want it toasted or non-toasted.
  • Pain medications. There are some pain medications that are safe while pregnant, whereas others need to be avoided.  Here are a few that are safe while pregnant: Benadryl (diphenhydramine), claratin, tylenol (acetaminophen), saline nasal drops or spray, colace, metamucil, benadryl cream, caladryl lotion or cream, hydrocortisone cream or ointment.  Most women choose to completely avoid all medications while pregnant which obviously is the best choice if you can, so the choice is up to you--and it doesn't hurt to ask your doctor.  I have IMMENSE back pain while pregnant that at times is not tolerable, so it's nice to know I can take some tylenol if need be.
  • Caffeine. There are no conclusive studies showing that caffeine has a negative effect on pregnancy and labor.  Caffeine can be passed through the placenta to your baby, so it is important to limit your intake as caffeine is a stimulant.  We may be able to handle the caffeine, but our tiny baby's body can't handle it quite as well.  The American Pregnancy association says we should limit our caffeine intake to less than 300 mg a day.  For a list of caffeine amounts in common drinks, click here
  • Lack of sleep, heartburn, etc. There are so many less than fun side effects that come with pregnancy, including but not limited to: back pain, leg cramps, heartburn, frequent urination, lack of sleep, etc.  Some people experience all of these, some experience none of these.  For me I got some of these more with my first pregnancy than with my second and vice versa. DO NOT worry about this until they start happening!  Don't get so concerned in thinking that you will experience all these symptoms and worrying what to do in case it happens. Just relax and when the time comes, if need be, do some research about how to cope with these side effects.  Worrying will do no good-just consider yourself lucky that you haven't experienced these yet.  Also, every pregnancy is different (my 2 have been sooo different!), so don't compare yourself to others.  Don't dread the 3rd tri-mester, thinking it will be horrible just because another woman is having a hard time dealing with it.  You may be just fine and dandy up until delivery day.  Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
A few more tips:


  • Maternity clothes. Buy them!  For some of us it can be hard to justify buying clothes that you will only wear for a few months.  For some of us though, you have no choice.  With pregnancy #1 I put off buying maternity jeans for as long as possible, but when I finally gave in I regretted not getting them sooner.  They are so comfortable!!!  I love them!  This pregnancy I got big a lot faster so I had to wear them a lot sooner.  Some of you women can get away with regular jeans all 9 months-amazing!  If you can, I say live it up!  Don't forget the rubber band trick if they do start to get a little snug.  Also, a lot of shirts these days can be worn while pregnant, even if they don't say maternity on the tag.  Sometimes you don't always need to shop the maternity section, especially if you're small.  With both pregnancies I've been able to wear my undershirts from DownEast Outfitters pretty much my entire pregnancy, since they tend to be longer than most.  Oh, and don't worry about stretching out your shirts, they will all go back to normal after washing and drying.  I have not had one issue of stretched out shirts.  Since maternity clothes can be hard to find (especially if you don't want to break the bank!) here is a list of my favorite places to maternity shop: Kohls-not always the biggest selection but cute stuff and cheap-esp on clearance!! (Found my favorite maternity jeans for $20!), Target-also have to dig a bit but I've found some real gems here, Shopko-didn't look this pregnancy but my hubby got me cute stuff from there previously, Ross, TJ Maxx, Motherhood Maternity-can be very pricey but check the clearance for great sales!  I really love their jeans and skirts.
  • Baby clothes.  No one can deny the cuteness of baby clothes, but be careful what you buy.  I suggest not buying very many (if any) newborn size clothes.  Most newborn outfits are meant for babies 5-8 lbs.  Some babies aren't even that small when they are born!  My son was 8 lbs 5 oz, so he was only able to wear his newborn clothes for maybe 2 weeks or so.  Although they might be tiny and cute, try to resist. :)  With my son I bought some of these shirts that button in the front and are short which are nice while their umbilical cord heals/falls off.  Click here to see what I'm talking about.  You can also get them in long sleeved.  Lastly, be aware that your child will more than likely scratch their face (a lot!) the first few weeks.  To prevent this we put socks on our little guys hands, looked kind of funny but kept him safe.  A much better option is to buy long sleeved shirts/onesies for them that have the "mittens" on them.  It just a flap/pocket on the end of the sleeve that folds over.  Unfolded, it looks like a pocket on the sleeve.  If you're worried about the heat, I'd say just put little ankle socks on their hands instead.
Stay tuned for future pregnancy and baby tips!  Thanks for reading--and don't forget to share with your friends!
P.S. Not sure what is going on with this post, but I could not figure out why/how the font and color are different, or why there is big 'old space between the pictures. Sorry :/

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Organizing on a budget



My husband likes to tease me, saying I'm OCD.  I keep telling him that I am not....not entirely that is.  Some things in my life I have to have completely organized and kept a certain way or I will go crazy!!  Then there are other things that I don't organize at all and could care less if they have their own spot or not.  
When it comes to organizing clothing closets, I'd say I'm a little OCD.  My closet is organized by color and all the shirts have to be hanging in the same direction.  Luckily my husband doesn't mind when I take it upon myself to organize his side of the closet :)
I was trying to figure out how I should organize our baby girl's closet.  I always organize baby clothes by size, but then there's the question of short/long sleeved, colors, etc.  I decided to keep my sanity and skip organizing by color, though that may change one day when I get in my OCD organizing mood.  Everyone is different, but my suggestion for organizing baby clothes is to at least organize by size since they grow out of them so fast the first year.  Wouldn't want them to miss out on a chance of wearing a really cute onesie!
For those who know me well, also know that I don't always like to buy unnecessary things for a baby's room.  I'd rather spend more money on organizing and decorating when they are older and actually care what their room looks like.  There's nothing wrong with spending the money to really deck out a nursery--it's just not my thing.  
A while ago I saw on a friends blog a picture of how she organized her daughters closet.  I loved the idea, so I copied it :)  I didn't want to buy anything new to make the organizers, so I just used what I had: colored contraction paper, metallic markers, and packaging tape.  I cut out the shape of how I wanted it to hang, decorated it, then used clear packaging tape to "laminate" them to make them last longer.  For not being a very crafty/art person, I'd say they turned out pretty well!  

 After making the hanging organizers I decided I needed something to keep her folded clothes organized.  I just cut our square shapes on construction paper, then "laminated" them as well.  I didn't have a hole punch, so I taped ribbon on the back and strung it through the shelving.  This will make finding clothes SO much easier!  I already packed her bag before I thought about taking pictures, so her closet is a little more empty than normal.
 My last tip for organizing a new babies closet is instead of buying an expensive dresser for $50-$100, we bought the above shelving for only $15!!  You can buy it in all sorts of colors.  I liked the multi-colored for our daughters room.  It's not the most attractive piece of furniture, but it sure is cheap!  When we were looking at furniture and things for the baby's room I REALLY wanted to get a crib with matching dresser and changing table.  Then my husband lovingly reminded me that we didn't have all these things with our son, and just wondered if we really needed all of that.  Then the practical part of me agreed and I set up the metal shelving in the closet.  I don't mind it as much since it's in the closet and won't be out in the open.  I'm just so excited about all the money I'm saving!!!
So, what have we learned here?
1. That you don't need to spend a lot of money on a room for a baby who really has no idea that their room is even decorated cute.  It's okay to be practical and frugal.
And
2. You can do a lot more with the things you already have in your home than you thought!

I should also add that when our son was born we had a 1 bedroom, so he did not have a closet.  We set up the same shelving next to our bed, and just bought a wooden dowel and put it across through the holes and hung his clothes on there as well.  So these also work great if you don't have anywhere to hang baby's clothes.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Feelin' the Love!





Hope everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day!  I sure did!!!  It felt more like Mothers Day weekend, than just a day.  
My husband took Friday and Saturday off work and took my son camping.  Every year our stake (church group/congregation) has a Father & Son campout.  Since my hubby is so into camping and anything outdoors, he was stoked to go!  My son is just like his Daddy and LOVES to be outdoors, so it was a heavenly weekend for both of them.  It was also a heavenly weekend for me because I got an entire day and night to myself.  I've really been nesting lately so it was great to have all that time to clean.  I actually really enjoyed myself :)
Before they left for their camping trip my husband bought me these incredible flowers.  I really love daisies and especially LOVE bright colored flowers (even though they are dyed), so this was perfect!  When they came home from their trip William walked in the door and handed me some purple wild flowers to add to the bouquet.  It was so sweet :)  Love my boys!
Today for Mothers Day my husband made my favorite breakfast, Puffy Pancakes!!!  Mmmm, they are SO yummy!  I will have to post the recipe another day so you can all try them.  He also made Rhodes cinnamon rolls.  It was divine!
Our son had a cough and runny nose today so my husband was nice enough to take him home early so I could stay and enjoy church.  Such a nice thing for him to do, since he's not guaranteed to have Sundays off from work.  
After church he made an amazing dinner of: bbq chicken, bbq corn on the cob, grilled summer squash and zucchini, and twice baked potatoes.  Then for dessert he made dutch oven peach cobbler!!  It was simply amazing!  So glad I married a man that can cook!  If you'd like to try this cobbler for yourself, click here for the recipe.

The day also consisted of a nice long nap (this was not taken today, but too cute not to share) and a great back massage.  Thanks babe for making my Mothers Day perfect!!! :)
 
 I truly do love being a Mother.  Children are the greatest gift that God has given us.  I really don't know what I would do without my son.  He makes my days worth living and brings so much joy to my life.  He also teaches me so much every day.  I'm so grateful for his example to me, even though I'm sure he doesn't even realize it.  So, thanks to my little guy for making me a Mom and the happiest Mom at that!  I mean, c'mon how could you not be happy when you get to spend every day with this cute guy??  love my goofy boy! :)


Dutch Oven Cobbler

Here is a recipe for one of the best dutch oven cobblers I've ever tasted.  My husband loves to cook dutch oven food, and boy is he good at it :) He has made many cobblers, but tonight I think he perfected it.  It was seriously the best cobbler ever!!  We've done a few different kinds, but for now here's the recipe for peach cobbler.
What you will need:
1 large can sliced peaches (in light syrup, NOT heavy)
1 box white cake mix
Sprite or 7up
3-4 Tbsp butter or margarine
2-3 Tbsp granulated sugar
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees if you plan to bake inside.  Otherwise, start getting your charcoal ready!
2. Pour can of peaches in dutch oven.  No need to drain the juice
3. Pour cake mix in next and stir slightly to mix with peaches.  Put cake mix in dry, do not mix cake as directed on box.
4. Pour sprite or 7up over peach mixture.  Pour in just enough to give enough liquid to the cake mix, but make sure not to put too much in or it will be very runny.  You'll probably need around 10-16 oz.
5. For 10" dutch oven place 3 Tbsp butter or margarine (divided into thirds) on top.  For 12" dutch oven use 4 Tbsp butter or margarine (dived into fourths).
6. Sprinkle 2-3 Tbsp sugar on top.
7. Bake uncovered in oven for about 1 hour.  You'll know it is done when top is crispy and golden brown, and most of the juices have been cooked out.  You'll want it to still be a little runny, as it will thicken upon standing.  A good rule of thumb for baking cobblers is if you can smell it, it's almost done!
8. If you are cooking outside with charcoal, you will want to cover the cobbler and place briquettes underneath oven as well as around the perimeter of the lid and a few in the center of lid.  It will take at least an hour longer to cook with briquettes, so plan early.
9.  Lastly, ENJOY!!!! :)
Here is our finished product.  It was so yummy we couldn't wait to try it before I got the picture.

You can also make this in any oven safe pan/dish.  Just make sure it is deep enough so your cobbler doesn't overflow!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One more Mother's Day gift idea

I can't believe I forgot to post this!  In October 2011 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a great talk titled, "Forget Me Not".  It was such a great talk!!  To read it, click here.  




  Deseret Book now sells a book with quotes from his talk.  It's filled with great, inspiring quotes that would mean so much to any woman!
Deseret Book is also selling forget me not flower grow kits.  They are mini flower pots with seeds to grow your own forget me not flowers.  I really want one of these in my home so I can always remember that I am never forgotten.  I'm planning to buy one for each of the sisters I visit teach.  For only $1.49 each, you can almost afford one for every mother in your life.  Sadly, though these are out of stock until after Mother's Day.  They get shipped from China and are stuck at customs. :(  Bummer!  But, nothing wrong with sending a little post-Mother's Day gift!  Would also make a great birthday gift, or you can give them for no reason at all--because you are NOT forgotten :)


Mother's Day

Me with my wonderful Mother.

As I'm sure you already know, Mother's Day is this Sunday, the 13th (If you didn't know this, then you better mark your calendar!).  In honor of this, I thought I'd blog a little bit about my own Mother and how great she is.
My mom is one of my favorite people :) She is so kind, caring, sweet, loving, and full of great advice.  She is always looking out for me.  I love that I can call anytime of day and she is always willing just to chat with me.  Sometimes I make up excuses for why I've called, but really I just miss her and want to chat, about nothing in particular. 
 I am so thankful for all the sacrifices she has made for me (which are quite a few).  She never ceases to amaze me with the service she gives to me and my family, as well as others around her.  
She is also so much fun to hang out with.  I really feel that now she is just one of my best friends.  Growing up at home I always loved to go anywhere with her, and actually whenever we visit I still love to just tag along on errands.  
My mom is such an honest person and I love that about her!  If I want a real opinion I know to ask my mom.  This is why she is such a great person to go clothing shopping with-I know I won't walk out of the store with something ugly.  
I sure wish my Mom lived closer so I could see her more often (maybe one day).  I hope she knows how much I truly do lover her, admire her, and hope I can be just like her one day!
Well, I could go on and on, but for now we'll leave it at that :)


Mother's Day is such a great time to reflect on how wonderful our own Mother's are, and also all the other Mother's in our life.  I'm also so grateful for wonderful Grandmothers who raised so many of our great Mothers!  There are also many women out there who may not have children yet, but in my opinion are still Mothers.  I have a few very special women in my life who are not official Mother's yet, but they are in my book!  They have every quality of a perfect Mom and they love and care for their families as if they are their own children.  I'm so grateful for these women in my life and the great example they are to me.

So, don't forget to call your Mom this Sunday and tell her how amazing she is.  And for you guys out there, don't forget to spoil your wife this Mother's Day :)
Just in case your stumped on what to do/get for your wife or Mom this Mother's Day, here are a few ideas:
  • Breakfast in bed.  Pretty traditional, but lets be honest, how often do we actually do this?
  • Clean up and organize the house Saturday!  That way she can relax in a clean, orderly house on Sunday.
  • Cook for her all day, and do the dishes<---I'm excited for this one, because my husband cooks wonderful dinners!  He HATES doing the dishes, but I know he will because he is that kind of guy
  • A list of reasons why you love her and/or why she is such a great Mother.  Have the kids make one too!
  • Pictures of the grandkids.  For my Mom, nothing is better than pictures of her grandkids.
  • A thoughtful card in the mail.  Sometimes a simple card means a lot more than you think.
  • A simple gift that she isn't suspecting.  My husband is great at this.  I will sometimes mention things that I'd like, or would be nice to have (not intending to actually buy them) and sometimes he'll surprise me with them--guess he pays closer attention than I thought :) 
  • A day of relaxation!  I told my husband what I really want for Mother's Day is to sleep in (as much as I can, with 9am church), and have him get our son all ready for church.  
  • Back massage.  Really, who wouldn't want this?!
  • Frame a family picture, or one of her with the kids.  Write all the reasons why she is great Mom.  This would work for your Mother or wife, or both!  It'd also be really neat to have a 4 generation (or more) picture if you have it and do this--->you, your kid(s), your Mother, Grandmother, etc.



  • A gift basket that represents your relationship with her, or things she loves.  It could be filled with thing such as: A picture of a fun memory with her, her favorite candy or treat, an apron (if she loves to cook), a gift card to her favorite store, or a gift card for her to go do something fun/her favorite hobby--groupon often has great deals on fun stuff! (Ask me for more info about signing up for Groupon!)
  • A pampering gift basket: nail polish, nail file, face mask (can be found for $1 at Walmart!), lotion (preferably a great smelling one from say, Bath and Body Works), candle, foot/hand scrub, perfume, bubble bath, rice heat pack, and her favorite magazine to read while she relaxes.
  • If you have young kids, they could make a cute coupon book with lots of fun, inexpensive coupons for mom such as: free hug/kiss, day free from whining/complaining, free night out with them (I would LOVE if one of my kids came up to me one day and gave me this coupon-whats better than knowing that your child want to hang out with you), movie night in of her choice, coupon for doing the dishes, washing the car, etc. Let your imagination run wild and I'm sure you'll think of other great coupons.
  • Apron with the kids handprints on it.
  • Pretty much anything homemade form the kids will mean a lot to any Mom!
  • A night all to herself--this may mean a date night, letting her go out with her girlfriends, or just out by herself for some alone time.  Mother's Day is a great day to let your wife relax, but every wife could use another peaceful night. 
I hope this gets your creative juices flowing on inexpensive and thoughtful things to do for the Mother(s) in your life.  Have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!