Monday, September 24, 2012

DailyBuzz Moms 9x9: making a fall wreath

this post is in conjunction with dailybuzz moms 9x9 september theme: fall into autumn. you can find my post along with the other 8 posts from different bloggers on september 27th right here. thanks to dailybuzz moms for having me. check it out!
a fall wreath is just about the best thing there is by way of fall decor, right? you have your pumpkins and wheat stalks, pine cones and berries, acorns and leaves and whatever else that will rest on the fireplace mantel or a side table; but the front door wreath is like the holy grail of all the autumnal decorations. yes?
i love wreaths for a few reasons: they can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want or need, the possibilities are endless, and they are extremely forgiving. as in, even if you suck at crafts (like me) you can usually make an wreath that makes everyone else think you are awesome. 
the one pictured above is one that i bought and then added all the fall flowers and leaves. when i bought it, on a chilly day in march a few years ago, it had little pinkish berries all around it. i used it throughout the spring and summer and added some cheap flowers and leaves on sept. 1st (minus the berries, of course) - now i rotate it throughout the seasons (except winter, come on!), changing the look of it as needed. it has become a tradition. (and it only cost me about $30 at jo-ann's)
if you don't have a fall wreath, it's not to late! for a  quick and easy project, do this:
get a wreath form (or something that can be fashioned into a circle): grapevine, styrofoam, straw form, a pool noodle, or cardboard. (for this particular wreath, i suggest a styrofoam form or a straw form, both can be found at craft store for just a couple of $)
use about 1/2 yard of a neutral material: muslin and burlap are great. and cheap. and really trendy, right now.
cut the material into 1 1/2 in. wide strips and wrap around the wreath form, overlapping each piece of material until the entire form is covered. secure with just a little hot glue. and it's okay if it isn't perfect. the neutral material will give it a rustic look, so any reasonable flaws will blend in.
once all of the material is secured, make a small arrangement of flowers as a finishing touch. this can be flowers you buy or maybe something you make. whatever it is that you like, secure it to the wreath with a little hot glue.
simple and fun under $10. hang that sucka up for the world to see - you just made a fall wreath! (and fyi, this one is an inside wreath, it hangs over my fireplace mantel in the center of a large mirror.)
i'm working on a fun halloween wreath right now - a cheap grapevine spray-painted black with a few fun add-ons. i will post when it is ready.
happy fall!  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

my kids are hilarious

Photo: ...or frozen cookie dough.  :)  (image source:
one of my biggest pet-peeves is when one of my children see me chewing and they freak out. and i already know this will happen, so i try to look the other way or chew as slowly and discreetly as possible so they don't notice. but they always do. and i swear they can hear a wrapper crinkling from across the house. which of course, makes me do things like the above e-card: wait until they are in bed and break out all the fun stuff they can't have. i saw this e-card the other day and posted it on facebook. i was laughing about it when my two big boys asked me what i was laughing out and then begged me to tell them. so i read them the e-card. they both looked bewildered and then my six year old shouted, "YOU HAVE SECRET ICE CREAM?!" and then tonight, bless his little heart, he came out of the bathroom holding a container  of clorox wipes and said, "i wiped down the toilet, can i have some of that secret ice cream?" how adorable. but then not so adorable when he attacked me for not giving him ice cream.
little bryce-man  was sitting in church last week with his camouflage crocs on. i don't normally let my children wear crocs to church but, know what? i actually do. normally, i actually do let them wear crocs. because sunday mornings are crazy and in an effort to keep from yelling before we go worship together i just say get whatever the heck you have ON and get in the car. BUT, i don't want them to wear crocs, i want them to wear their nice dress shoes. does that count? anyway, bryce had his camo crocs on and he looked at my m-i-l and said, "hey nana. can you see my shoes?" obviously, she said yes. and he said, "really? you can actually see them?" what a little sweetheart. you know, camo? he thought they were 'hidden from view'.
oh nash - well, he is funny. but today,well, this isn't funny, but he fell out the back of a fold-out chair on to a hard gym floor. just - splat! right on the floor. and then he tried to do it again. do you think something is wrong with him? the poor people behind us (we were at church, stake conference actually) they had no children with them and the young woman looked like she was going to pop (with child). and there were some old people, too. i wanted to first apologize for the craziness that they were about to witness from four kids BORED TO DEATH. and also, i wanted to tell the pregnant woman not to be scared. i didn't do either because i was too busy keeping up with nash. SIIIIIGGGGGGHH. (but he is so cute, it cancels all the exhausting stuff of toddlerhood out)
and my oldest boy, triston the pitt-bull clowers, as he calls himself, told me the other day that he is going to be home schooled starting in the 5th grade. i think homeschooling would be really bad for my relationship with my kids BUT i would and will do it if i feel the public school system is not doing what it should (or shouldn't). my kids don't know that, though, and i am not planning on telling them. triston, however, has already made his mind up though because he says that 5th graders only get the leftovers at lunch. according to him, "it isn't even hot or good - it's just warmed up after all the little kids don't want it"  the boy is serious about his food.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

a mean tuna noodle.

i am having a little blogger's remorse from my previous post. i should have explained better that my tone throughout the whole experience at walmart was light & cheery. even if it was forced. and also, i probably shouldn't use the word douche to describe a person. there are a lot of reasons why i shouldn't say it. i'll just leave it at that.

ANYway, i posted on fb that i made a re-vamped version of tuna noodle casserole and it was a success. i made it on a whim, and let me just tell you something: everything i do on a whim turns out great. but if i plan? nope. crafts, diy house stuff, cooking, diets, anything. it's quite tragic, actually.

so anyway, i knew i had tuna and egg noodles in the cabinet so i did a quick search on pinterest to see what came up. here's the recipe.

as adapted from cooking light.

8 ounces wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup milk

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 can of peas, drained
grated cheddar or colby jack
cans low sodium tuna in water, drained and flaked
2 T. butter
1/2 c. bread crumbs
in a medium size pan, boil the egg noodles until done, drain and set aside. in a separate pan, saute onion in oil over medium heat. once onion is tender, sprinkle flour over the top and stir constantly for 1 min. s l o w l y add the milk and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until mixture starts to thicken. add cream cheese, dijon mustard, and salt & pepper (to taste). cook over low heat for a few minutes longer, while stirring, until ingredients are mixed together well.
in a large bowl, add the egg noodles, peas, tuna, and however much grated cheese you like. stir well until everything is mixed together in bowl and pour into  a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
in a small bowl, melt butter in microwave and add bread crumbs. mix well until all butter is absorbed. sprinkle over casserole. bake for 15 min. at 350 - just to warm through and then broil for 5 minutes until golden on top.
now, eat that sucka up! and lie to your kids if you have to. my kids think they hate tuna, but i told them it was chicken casserole and they ate every. last. bite. ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

kill them with kindness

 i really wanted to say, "what's your problem, lady?!"  seeing as the troll behind the counter was clearly offended that i asked which brands of mesquite turkey they carry. i had even smiled at her and asked how she was as i approached - obviously a reply wasn't returned. okay, how do you blatantly ignore someone? anyway, this is why i absolutely loathe walmart - every employee is the most miserable person i've ever met and every shopper is either yelling obscenities at their children or trying to get out of there as soon as possible. am i right or am i right?

but, i wanted to know. did i want jenny-o turkey or did i want sara lee? i don't usually buy lunch meat and it had been awhile, so i wanted to look at both packages and then decide. and it's my freaking right as a shopper, anyway. so the lady sighs heavy and points out where the mesquite turkey is. and i just stared at her.

i am just getting to this point in my life where if you are acting like a douche, i am just going to say it. only, i just said it with my eyes this time because the lady was handling my food. anyway, i stared at her until she looked away and looked back and then had to look away again. it was uncomfortable. i mean, have you ever just stared at someone? you have to force yourself to do it. so i gave her my order and when she was done slicing it, she threw the bag on top of the counter and started to walk away.

she started to walk away! i had no interest in buying cheese, but i didn't want our exchange to be over yet. because i wanted to prove that even though she was bring rude on purpose, i was choosing to not get offended. so i asked for a sample. she sighed again and plopped it up on the counter and i looked her dead in the face, smiled, and said, "thank you. i really appreciate it." i gave the cheese to my cute kids and i started to walk away. i turned back to her and said, "have a great day".

now she probably didn't care either way, BUT, when i turned  back around she had an odd look on her face AND she stuttered, "mam, i can give you another piece of cheese for your other kid, if you want". i told her it was fine, that they could share and she said, "are you sure? it's no problem?"

so in my mind she realized that she shouldn't be mean anymore. and wouldn't that be a such a happy ending?! well, it is the ending because i left walmart. but kill them with kindness, people. the old adage is a gem.

now, if you'd like to read a funny yet could-be psychotic story about my husband, here's one for ya. one time when he was in law school this guy that he didn't like kept looking at him. i don't know if this person was a good guy or bad guy, but he looked and acted like someone from jersey shore and my poor husband just has no tolerance for the type. so this guy just kept staring at him and instead of looking away like a normal person he stared back and showed his teeth! he actually made a scary face at this guy and silently growled at him. can you even imagine? i think about that from time to time and just crack up. i can vouch - law school does weird things to the students. oh, how i love him.

so in conclusion, if you are still reading, the only other good think that came out of my trip to walmart today: vanilla caramel marshmallows. yes!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

the perfect day

i thought to myself several times, "today is the perfect day." i did every thing i said i was going to do, which is a rarity for this chick. somehow, i had time to fit it all in. and i was thinking: what is a perfect day, anyway? if i were to construct a perfect ordinary day, what would it look like? here is what i came up with:

sleeping in
working out
taking as long as i want to get ready
book store browsing
catching up with girlfriends
meeting up with my family for dinner
reading or watching whatever i want for as long as i want with no interruptions
and then falling asleep on perfectly washed and pressed sheets (not by me) and sleeping the entire night.
obviously, these are just the silly musings of a housewife. i count myself among the insanely blessed to recognize all the amazingness in my life that i never want to take for granted: a lovely hardworking husband, 4 beautiful children that are growing up way to fast, a warm and comfortable home, health and the ability to serve others, work at home, and have a productive day. so maybe my 'perfect day' that i had today might seem simple, but it really was all i could ever ask for. here's what it actually looked like:
stumbling out of bed at almost 7 (30 min. late) after being woke up several times by scared children
breakfast for 4
 kids off to school
getting all the laundry done: washed, dried, folded and put away.
taking my two littlest ones for a walk/bike ride
preschool time
lunch for 2
playtime - lots of 'airplane rides' and giggles
a 45-minute workout
a shoe organizer put together and put to use
picking up my big boys from school
homework - help with 2 upcoming tests
dinner for 6 and clean-up and a 20-minute catch up with the mr. before he ran back to work
outside play
made a snack and helped the boys pick up
the upstairs vacuumed and quickie-cleaned
baths for 4
reading practice
lights out for the littles
melt on the couch and decide not to move
 my house is warm and tidy and smells yummy, there was little drama by way of fighting brothers, my littles are tucked in their warm beds sound asleep, and my mr. should be home any minute.
like i said, a pretty perfect day.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

super delish: asian broccoli salad


I had been craving something different and my thoughts were lingering on a large container of broccoli salad that i had seen at sam's club a few days prior. since sam's is 45-minutes from my house (and hello, it is the sabbath) here's what i came up with. hint #1 it was great: my kitchen was a total mess when i was finished.

fresh broccoli, chopped (use more or less depending on how many servings you want)
1 romaine heart, chopped
1 bunch of green onion, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, fried and chopped (or as much freaking bacon as you love)
1 large handful of dried cranberries
green onion, chopped
1 package of ramen noodles
1 T. butter
rice vinegar

maybe i should call this asian broccoli chop salad in honor of all the chopping that goes on? when you have it all done, combine the broccoli, romaine, green onion, bacon, green onion and cranberries into a large bowl; toss together.

next, crunch up the ramen noodles while still packaged. melt the butter on medium-high heat and add the ramen noodles. stir until golden brown and set aside.

 for the dressing (in a separate bowl) start with a cup of mayo, a few shakes of rice vinegar, and a few T. of sugar. i don't give measurements here because there is a lot of flexibility within the dressing recipe. if you like more of a tangy flavor, add more rice vinegar. if you like less, just add a little. same with the sugar. if you like it really sweet, add a little more. and obviously, the more broccoli you have, the more dressing you make. once the dressing is blended, pour over the broccoli mix and with a large spoon or spatula, toss until coated.

add the ramen on top and stir into the salad. refrigerate until ready to serve.

it was awesome. and we ate the whole bowl.

Friday, September 14, 2012

a difference between boys and girls?

we received a disney credit card offer in the mail. you know, the kind with the plastic sample card inside. bryce noticed the characters on the envelope and thought there might be a coupon for a movie inside. i played along with the excitement and told him he had received something even better than a movie: his very own credit card! with eyes wide and a hopeful smile on his face, he exclaimed "you mean, i can buy something with that?!"
i, in a high-pitched tone, told him that he couldn't actually buy something but that he could pretend with it and how cool is that?! his shoulders dropped and the smiled faded. very matter of factly he stated: "ugh. why would they even send that to us?! i can't even buy a piece of gum with it?"
he is four. is there a process of evolutionary thought going on in the pre-k crowd, or what? since when do four year olds not like to pretend play with fake money?
he is a boy, after all, i suppose. the four of them act like they might die if i even mention a store that doesn't sell food. as if the food will make it more tolerable. and there's an exception with nash, of course. he is happy to sit in a stroller or cart and look cute in any store that i please so long as i have a supply of goldfish crackers on hand. and bryce, he is a realist, too. i mean, if it isn't going to actually buy something, why keep it around, right?  i am pretty sure if the offer had come with a cape or a weapon, he would have been all in.
but still, play money?! fake credit cards? i loved that type of thing when i was little. i remember sitting up little stores full of my own toys and acting like i was buying stuff. maybe it's just a personality difference. or maybe i was just destined to be a shopper. yes!
man, if only i could get my husband to buy that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

the things you learn on a typical tuesday.

  • that your butt looks HUGE in leggings and you were right to not hop on the trend bandwagon.
  • that your 6 year old has a "hooked" molar that is preventing another molar from coming all the way in. so i get to try to console a 6 year old while they put a giant needle up in his gums and shave part of his tooth off. awesome. and my 8 year old needs braces. even more awesome.
  • that the baby i own started climbing out of his playpen, which happens to be dinner prep sanity for me. and he doesn't just climb out like a normal person: he flung himself over the side and plopped out on the floor. and then tried to do it again like 3 more times. his crib is next, i just know it.
  • that i am tired of 2-party politics. and i am also tired of hearing: "the mormon moment" ugh.
  • that you can make butter! out of heavy whipping cream. i suppose i have been under a rock my whole life: i had no idea. bryce and i did it as a science project, and obviously i was way more excited than he was.
  • that i owe 12.95 for a water-damaged library book. darn! the boys left books in the tent overnight at our back to school campout - and since everyone was too chicken to stay out there all night - we came in and then it rained!! grrrr. seriously, i've probably donated close to $100 freaking dollars to the library in the last year.
  • that my little brycer is getting a smattering (?) of freckles over his nose and cheeks like big bro j-man.
  • that our annual halloween party is going to completely rock and i am happily plucking everyone else's great pins for decorations and party treats. how easy! (and crappy? i mean, they won't be there, so....)
  • that it is now midnight and i am a stupid woman. my kids are going to eat me alive tomorrow.

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