Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

Picture for soup found here.
My sister gave me this recipe for Tomato Basil-Parmesan Soup. It was delicious. I took it to a family dinner, and had I not sampled it before we left, I would have tried it at all, because it disappeared super duper fast. Luckily, I have stuff to make it again this week :)

Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup finely diced onions
1/2 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano or 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups half and half, warmed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
In a large slow cooker, combine tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and basil (if using fresh oregano and basil; if using dried oregano and basil add those two ingredients in the last hour of cook time). Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
About an hour before serving prepare a roux: Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour; stir constantly with a whisk for 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup from the slow cooker. Add another 3 cups soup and stir until smooth.
Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for another hour until ready to serve.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Little Bit of Potpourri

It's been a busy, fun week around here. Well, the weekend anyway (Starting with Thursday).
I love going to Bunko once a month, and the December Bunko is definitely one of our most fabulous. We do a large fondue bar with chocolate, caramel, and cheese fondues. It's something that cannot be missed, and I'm glad I've been able to now attend 2 of these fabulous functions. :)
I'd like to introduce two of my new best friends. For fun, let's call them the tru-pull twins. They are the most fabulous knee braces in the world. But hey, they should be because I had a to pay a pretty penny for them. I actually got just one before my 10K in October due to pain and aching I was having in my knee. After a visit to the physical therapist, I found out I have tilted knee caps. These braces basically just hold my knee cap in proper alignment. After trying one, I was hooked. So I bought another. Good buy. Also, they allow me to still be active and hopefully will prevent the need for surgery in the future.
Yesterday I spent hours with some great ladies in my neighborhood learning how to make chocolates and fondant candy. I won't tell you how many hours we spent working on these lovely things, but it was LOT! :) They are absolutely amazing though, and we made over 200 chocolates. These are some that I got to bring home. YUM!
And tonight I went to Ballet West's "The Nutcracker" up at the Capital Theatre in Salt Lake with my good friend, Meredith. We hope to send our husbands out to something fun like a BYU basketball game to tell them thanks for staying home with the kids. :)
It was such a fun night, and I'm so grateful I was able to go with someone who appreciated it as much as me. Thanks again Meredith! I wasn't lying when I said I may have to make this a tradition. :)

A Little Gingerbread Fun

I bought a gingerbread village kit at Walmart last year on clearance the week after Christmas. It got stuck in the back of the freezer for a year, and this week got pulled out again. Steven was so excited! I really wanted to do it with all four of us, so it took a few days to get time to do it, but it didn't disappoint. We all had a lot of fun, and Lillie and Steven enjoyed getting to try their hand at become world famous frosting decorators :)

Something Crafty....

Hooded Towels
I've made a few of these hooded towels for nieces, nephews, and friends. I think they're fabulous. I learned how to make them from my mother-in-law, and my cousin-in-law has a great tutorial here. I made some this week, and the Disney ribbon really gave them a nice touch :)

Monday, December 05, 2011

A Lovely Sunday Overall :)

Yesterday was not my kids best day. Not gonna lie, it was kind of a rough day. They were grouchy, grumpy, and fought a lot. However, there were a few things that helped me to see the sunshine of the day and smile.
The first would be this:
We started a Christmas Countdown for Steven to help his anxiousness about Christmas coming. Yesterday the day started with it saying 21 Days Until Christmas. While I was getting ready for church, Steven excitedly came upstairs and said, "It's only 11 days until Christmas now!" I had no idea what he was talking about. But when I walked in the door after church and noticed this, I bust out laughing. Apparently 21 days was too long, so he took matters into his own hands. :)
Highlight number 2 was meeting this little lady, Gabriella and visiting with her amazing mother, Genesis. There is seriously nothing better than cuddling a sweet newborn to forget the stresses of grumpy children and everything else. She is just so so sweet, and I'm so grateful I had the chance to visit. And a huge thank you to my sister who watched the grumpy kids so I could take a nice little break :)
And for the record, I love her excitement when Gen took this picture :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This year for Thanksgiving, we headed down to Richfield to spend the holiday with the Rowley family. I was somewhat bummed that Richfield had their turkey trot at the beginning of November, because I had been looking for another race to do. So, I decided to create my own race, which was lovingly titled the "2011 Gobble Gobble Trot Trot." I roped a few friends into running this 5K with me, and I would like to thank them for being good sports to appease me. :) Darrell ran with me, as did Kacey, Christie, and Karen. Steve and Todd were excellent to wait at my parents at be our time keepers. We all scored these magnificent certificates and candy bars, while Kacey nabbed herself the grand prize of the Turkey Centerpiece :)
To appease my sobbing and wailing child who didn't get to run the 5K with us in the morning, we did a cousin race later in the afternoon. Here are most of the kids running down the street. What you can't see is Steven who biffed it hard on the asphalt and did a number on his knees.
So to once again appease my wailing and sobbing 4-year old, we had another cousin race in the back yard. This time it was much more successful for my cute little man :)
Tait, Jacob, Steven, Jay, Hayley and Abby (a.k.a. Rapunzel)
Buddies: Jay, Tait, Steven and Hannah after the race
And of course after a scrumptious feast, we took time out for some family photos....
I got this magnificent turkey craft idea a few years ago from a friend at a neighborhood play group in Lehi. I brought stuff for the kids, and we all had fun making turkey apples.u
Thursday night entailed the boys going to play basketball before a lot of us headed to Walmart at 10 p.m. for some madness, but at least we made up for it by sleeping in on Friday. :)
We took a bunch of the kids out shooting. Steven got to shoot a pistol and a rifle. It was fun to see his reaction to things for sure. :)
Saturday I didn't take any pictures. We headed to Darrell's parents house with the intent to go to the temple while they watched the kids. But due to Lillie deciding she needed to get super icky sick, I spent a lot of the day cuddling with her, and Darrell enjoyed playing games with his siblings :) Hopefully she'll be the only one to get sick.
Overall it was a good holiday and I'm so grateful for all of the blessings in my life! Good family, places for the family to play, and delicious food!

Things I've missed posting about....

Painting fun (We do that a lot....)
Ice Cream Treats
Freezing while watching BYU Football
My very cute (and it works amazingly too!) new headband headwarmer, made by my good friend, Genesis
Haircuts all around (And yes, I only took pictures of the ladies :))
And I'm only a month late posting my cute kids in their Halloween costumes :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

So many things!

Recently our laptop gave up the ghost. We knew it was getting close, but when our kids decided to use it as a jump board one day while I was in the shower it really gave up the ghost. Luckily, we had gotten everything off that we wanted, so now we just sit and wait for the right deal to come along. My sister is fantastic, and has let us take her old laptop on loan until we get a new one, but that has made it hard for me to post all the fabulous pictures that I would just love to be blogging!
As for us, in the past month and a half:
- We had a delightful Halloween
- Darrell switched positions at work - back to underwriting and funding. Glorious day!
- Steven has been excelling in joy school, and is starting to pick up fundamentals of reading
- Lillie's vocabulary is starting to explode, and she is starting to communicate phrases. I love this time of life. It's great how even the most simple words sound so cute from her. We found an old video of Steven saying a bunch of words at about 2 years old, and her voice and words sound so similar to his! He thinks those videos are absolutely hilarious. I really hope to get her on camera one of these days saying "applesauce" ""Awesome!" Hey Baby!" "Sparkle Toes" "What's up" Or "There it is!" Just so I can remember how cute it was.
- I impulsively cut 12 inches of my hair off to donate! I was in need of a new change, and it really seemed to be just what I needed!
- Enjoyed many trips to Thanksgiving Point
- Froze through a BYU vs. Idaho football game, but it was worth it for Steven and Lillie to have a half sleep over at Aunt Sheri's :)
Things I'm looking forward to!
-Holiday Boutiques
-Meeting my dear friend's sweet new baby who is due in 3 and a half weeks
-Christmas Season
-Going to the Nutcracker
-Lots of Hot Chocolate
As for my thoughts tonight, I have had so many thought swirling in my mind about so many different things that I sometimes have felt overwhelmed. On top of that, Satan has been really mean lately and has made me feel like I'm not very good and that I don't fit in anywhere. He keeps trying to get me to compare myself to all the other amazing ladies around me so that I am not happy. Ug. Talk about frustrating. Friday night after pounding away at the piano for a half hour, I felt a little better and I got some of the motivation I needed to get out of this rut.
Today I was reading in the November Ensign preparing to go visiting teaching, and I was reading "The Privilege of Prayer" by Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Quorum of the Seventy. His talk really was what I needed to read tonight. The quote that really just hit me, and made me just burst into tears the moment I read it was this:
"In His mercy, the God of heaven, the Creator and Ruler of all things everywhere, had heard a prayer about a very minor thing. One might well ask why He would concern Himself with something so small. I am led to believe that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to Him, just because He loves us. How much more would He want to help us with the big things that we ask, which are right (see 3 Nephi 18:20)?
Little children, young people, and adults alike, please believe how very much your loving Heavenly Father wants to bless you. But because He will not infringe upon our agency, we must ask for His help. This is generally done through prayer. Prayer is one of the most precious gifts of God to man."
The biggest part of this that stuck out to me was the though "Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to Him, just because He loves us!(Emphasis added)"
Heavenly Father doesn't care if our cares are small, large, weird, crazy, or even dumb. He cares that we want to tell him about it because He loves us! He WANTS us to tell Him about us, so that we can feel His love. Feel His understanding. Feel that we are important. That's one thing I realized I really feel the Brethren wanted us to know this Conference. Heavenly Father loves us so much that He wants us to gain a better relationship with Him.
So, to cap off my ramblings, I got my answer. The thing I need to do to settle my being overwhelmed and my feelings of lack of self-worth is to improve my relationship with Him. And I sure hope that I can do that!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Love Your Body!

A year and a half ago, I never would have considered myself as a “runner.”  I did, however, have a goal to do the Race for the Cure 5K in celebration of my mom, who is a cancer survivor.  As I finished that race in May of 2010, I knew I was hooked on this sport.  A year and a half and seven 5K’s later, today I was able to run my first 10K!  Never EVER thought I could run one mile, let alone 6!  My friends, Nicole and Amber, were able to run the Wasatch Woman 10K with me this morning at Thanksgiving Point. 

Nicole and I tried to look like we were shivering in this picture so we could remember how rainy and cold it was when we first got there. :)DSCN1822


The weather was cold, but it started to warm up as we got ready to start the race.   Nicole was nice enough to keep running with me and motivate me.  As we hit mile 1, I was feeling great and knew this was going to be a great race!  At about mile 4.5 I got my second wind, and we were almost to the home stretch by then.  We did walk for about 30 seconds about 4.75 miles in, so that we could grab a drink, but it was quick and we were able to keep going.  The last stretch was awesome, and it was so fun to sprint across the finish line with a time of 1:08:15.  Nicole came in a whole second behind me at 1:08:16. :) ( and Amber was like 1:05 or something.  Fast and awesome. :)) I was secretly hoping for an hour and ten minutes, so it was fun to beat that.  Darrell and kids came as well, and that meant a lot.  Even if they did walk up literally 2-3 minutes after I finished the race :)  So, overall I loved this race!  I will probably not make 10K’s a frequent thing, but I will definitely try to finish off each summer that I can with this race to cap off this accomplishment that represents the completion of many goals! 

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Birthday Week

Last week was my birthday! I do absolutely love birthdays, but having 3 in a month takes up all of my creativity :)  Anyway, it was a fabulous day, and it’s nice to finally reach the ripe old age of 25. :)  When I got home from aerobics, Steven came downstairs and was very perplexed that he had not yet wished me a happy birthday.  It was 7 a.m., so he was really cutting it close. :) I went visiting teaching in the morning at the park with my good friends, and sneaky Genesis found out I was going to go buy a Red Velvet cake.  Then, she went and bought me one before I could get to the store.  So Sneaky! But seriously, it meant so much that somebody actually wanted to do something like that for me.  I loved it, and of course it was delicious!
I enjoyed a wonderful evening with my fabulous family going to dinner. My favorite part was Steven’s insistence to sing Happy Birthday every time Darrell mentioned it was my birthday. :)


Later in the week we enjoyed a lovely day at Farm Country riding carriages and Lillie rode a pony. :)



Lastly, Lillie has been obsessed with Temples recently, so I took the kids to the Temple to get pictures to print and put in their rooms.  They had a fun time running around!
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