Friday, February 23, 2007

Beauty Queen Boutique

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Hey All! I just wanted to introduce you to a great little online Boutique. My cousin, Amber, just launched her business in to the computer world. I have to tell you, she has some of the cutest stuff for little girls! You HAVE to check it out! She specializes in bracelets and hairbows, but also has other unique gifts available.

For those of you who are participating in the Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom... Amber submitted a prize for one of her baby bracelets! So head on over to Beauty Queen Boutique and don't forget to let her know I sent 'cha!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Keeping Sheep

There are days that are harder than others. Sometimes I wonder what keeps me going. The other day I came across this post by My Little Corner of Chaos. She had read another post by Lisa Bearnson which had this song in it. I was so touched that it brought me to tears. I have always taken the responsibility of being a mother seriously, but this gave me such a deeper perspective. So turn up the volume, grab a tissue, and be touched by this powerful song by Lynne Perry Christofferson!

Keeping Sheep
I have a little flock of sheep
And they are mine to tend and keep.
And I must guard them every day
For little lambs, when left alone,
Will lose their way.

So many voices say to me,
A sheep fold is no place to be.
Your time in there is dull and slow,
And lambs leave very little room
For you to grow.

So if I ever start to stray,
Deceived by thought of green pastures,
Remind me, Lord, that keeping sheep
Will lead to happier ever-afters.
Will lead to happier ever-afters.

Oh, surely there will come a day
When all the lambs have left my side,
And I am free to roam about,
And go exploring other meadows,
Green and wide.

Yet something whispers in my heart
That when my sheep have left this pen
I'll long to stoke their little heads,
To draw them close to me
And have them young again.

Repeat Chorus
So while they still are in my care
I pray that I will clearly see
These little lambs within my fold
Are tender gifts the Master Shepherd
Has given me.

This song helps me realize how precious the moments can be in my child's life. How important it is for me to guide and direct them. I have been given such a wonderful, beautiful gift, and huge responsibility. I hope and pray that I can raise my children in such a way that I can repay my Savior for the blessing of being able to "tend His sheep."

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Wordless Wednesday - The Joy of Discovery

For more participants Check out the Wordless Wednesday HQ!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday - The Food Pantry *UPDATED*

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

***************UPDATED -- SEE BELOW*************

I am in the process of organizing the food pantry. It has gotten pretty bad...stuff all over the place, and things that should not be in there. Right now I have all the food all over the kitchen. Here are the before pictures, and I will post the "after" one as soon as I am done!

My pantry has a sliding door...this is each side. Caden just had to pose with the picture. :o)

I am finally done! I found a lot of strange stuff in there....a drill, paperwork from OVER A YEAR ago (I am so embarrassed!) when Sydney went to the emergency room, a box of crayons, door stoppers, gift bags, and alot of empty boxes of food. I tossed a bunch of old food that had been sitting in there forever. Now I think I need to go shopping, there is soo much room! I also seemed to shift everything from one side of the pantry to the other. I think I did it because the left side of the pantry we tend to use less. The right side tends to be left open more, and my son is a line of sight type of person. When the pantry is open he thinks that he wants to eat whatever he sees. I am hoping that this will help him not get into stuff as much (yeah right). I will probably get some sort of container to hold all my pasta, but overall I am pretty happy with the results...what do you think!?

To check out other "tackles" go visit 5 Minutes for Mom!

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Beautiful Baby Search *UPDATE*

About a month ago I had submitted pictures of Caden and Sydney to Regis & Kelly's Beautiful Baby Search. They were to call and notify the 10 semi-finalists last week. I waited, but no call came. It turns out that 150,000 pictures were submitted! Can you believe that! I think that is sooo crazy. I really didn't expect to win, but it was fun to dream for a little.

It is funny how we all think that we have the cutest kids in the world. When we were in High School, Julie (my best friend) and I used to joke about how some mom's had some ugly kids, and they had no idea. When you see the baby you don't know what to say because you don't want to hurt the mom's feelings by saying something. Instead you comment on how cute the outfit is. We made a pact that we would tell each other the truth. Of course we see our children in rose colored glasses, and it doesn't matter what anyone says they are the cutest thing ever!

People voted yesterday, and now they are down to the top 5 finalist. You can go here to view them and vote yourself if you desire. There really are some cute babies. They also have a gallery that they add pictures to everyday, and they will be showing pictures all through out the show during the week. My kids might just get half a second of fame. hee hee. I will let you know if I see them.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

I Confess...

Okay, okay...I admit it. I am not the best housekeeper in the world. I will be getting no awards or accolades. I am more likely to be featured in the next Clean Sweep of a person who is organizationally challenged. Shawn likes to think that I spend all of my time in front of the computer instead of cleaning. hee hee. That is not the case...I just have a 3 & 1 year old that make cleaning house a joy. Sometimes I wonder why I even try!

Anyway, I am now trying to get my house in order before we leave on our cruise. It has opened my eyes as to what I really need to clean. There are so many things that I want to do, but don't know if I will have the time. I just keep imagining that the people that will be watching Caden at our house will think we are so unorganized and yucky. So I have a new found determination to clean up my house! Occasionally I jump on the FlyLady bus, and today is one of those days.

Today is what she calls Weekly Home Blessing Hour. You are supposed to do the following things all in one hour...spending 15 minutes on each task. I don't know if I will get them all done in an hour, but hopefully I can get them all done by the end of the day. It really seems like I should be able to get them all done, but for some reason it takes me much longer than just an hour.

· Cull/Toss old magazines
· Change sheets
· Empty all trash
· Vacuum
· Mop/Sweep Kitchen and Bathroom Floors
· Clean mirrors and doors
· Dust

Then I am going to figure out what I want to do for Tackle it Tuesday tomorrow. Shawn thought my last weeks "tackle" was not really a tackle because it was just picking up the playroom. Yes, it wasn't as big as my first one, but it still took some work! He wants me to do our storage room...I want to too, but don't know if that will be the one tomorrow...stay tuned!

I am off to clean!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Can you give me some tips?

Calling all Cruise Casanova's! As you all know we have never been on a cruise before. Yes, I am so excited, but I would love to get some tips on what we can do to make our trip even better. So give me your ideas...Things to bring, things not to bring, to do or not to do, etc. Also if you have anything that you know of in Hawaii that is a must see or do...fill me in! I will be forever grateful! Toodles!

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Shawn had to go Atlanta, GA today for some SAP (computer stuff) training and he will be gone until Friday :(. We were so bummed because they had tried to get him into the same conference a couple a weeks ago that was being held in Philadelphia. When he called me and told me I got so excited! I jumped on the Internet and found a website that listed tons of kid-friendly things that we could do there. Then he was told that there were no more openings, and they booked him for the training that starts tomorrow in GA. *yuck* Sorry if you are reading this and live in Atlanta. I don't really have anything personal against it. The problem is that the closest airport that my airline flys into is about 3 hours I don't want to be out of town for a whole week before Shawn and I leave for the cruise. I have too much to do! The sad thing is that Shawn will only get to see our babies for one day before we leave for our cruise! It will be practically 2 weeks away from the kids for him. He was pretty bummed, but he really needs to go to the training. The timing just was bad. (But I now have a new found determination to plan a trip to Philly!)

With that being said...we wanted to do something fun with the kids before he left. So on Friday we hopped in the car and went out to dinner at my old stomping grounds - Organ Stop Pizza. It brought back a ton of memories.

I remember when they first started building the restaurant by our house. I was a Junior in High School. They were originally in a different location that was a 10-15 miles west of the new location. I had never been to the original, but my mom told me about it. I play the violin, piano, and I sing. (My mom is a music education major, and instilled the love of music in me.) The restaurant is unique in itself. It seats over 700 people. Has various different instruments hung from the ceiling & walls. All of it is controlled by the organist that is front and center in the dining area. It is an experience you will never forget. As we saw the progression of the construction...I thought...when it is built, I am going to get a job there. I thought it would be so cool to have a job where I am surrounded by music all day. It finally was completed. I applied, got the job and worked there for many, many years.

It was a great place to be. I bussed tables making a little over minimum wage, but I absolutely loved it. I loved listening to the music, singing to the music, and interacting with the customers that came and went. I made many good friendships with co-workers, that I still have to this day! The management was great. Everything about it was wonderful.

When we walked in all the same feelings came back. It was great. We hadn't been there since Caden was a little baby. He was absolutely mesmerized! It was so fun to watch him and Sydney dance to the songs. At one point, Lew - the organist, play Chattanooga Choo Choo. The awesome thing about this is that when he starts out the song - it sounds exactly like a train. I watched as Caden's eyes grew wide. He looked at me in amazement and said, "Mommy! Its a train!" I loved seeing it through his eyes.

We are going to have to go there more often. If you are ever in Arizona this is a place that you must see! I don't think you will be dissapointed!

Shawn is now gone, and the house is quiet with sleeping children. I will miss my honey, but look forward to the time we will be able to share together soon.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Countdown

In a little over a week, Shawn and I will have been married for 7 years! I can not believe how fast time has flown by. A couple of months ago we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. In the past we haven't done much...usually we would go out to dinner, or I would make something special, but it was never anything really big. Ever since we got married I have been dying to go on a cruise for a few reasons:

  • I have always heard how much fun they can be

  • I say that my husband has "post partum money depression" (once he makes purchases he totally worries about it, and gets "depressed" because things cost so much)
  • My husband's 'condition' makes it hard for him to enjoy a vacation because he is constantly adding up the costs of things - going on the cruise alleviates this because the majority of the vacation cost is paid for!

  • They seem romantic

I "work" for an airline (I say "work" because I bid a full line every month, but then give all my trips away so I can stay home with the kiddo's). The beauty of working in the airline industry is you get a lot of discounts with all travel related things. I get weekly emails from a web based travel agency that negotiates discounts for hotels, cruises, and other things for airline employees. I started keeping my eye out for the "deal", and then one day it arrived!

A seven night cruise in HAWAII for $299!!!!!!

So yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, I jumped on that bandwagon and started lobbying for hubby's agreement that we just HAD to book this cruise! I had to make many phone calls to line up family to take care of our babies while we were away...and then we booked it!!! Yippee!! I was so excited! We get to go on a cruise for our anniversary -- without the kids! I have been floating on cloud nine for months just waiting for when we get to go!

Now it is around the corner, and some reality has set in. Since Caden has been born (he is now 3 1/2) we have never been on a vacation with out them. We have always taken them everywhere we go. Part of me knows that it is long overdue...I need a break. The other part is going to miss my babies so much.

I was reading Dandelion Mama the other day. I was able to relate to her post about Sleeping in Seattle. I sometimes daydream of days without fulfilling the constant needs that my children have. Being able to have adult conversation without having to chase my kids in the process. Yet at the same time I grip to the very thing for dear life. It is a constant tug of war.

I know that it will be a good thing to get away from the kids. To rejuvenate as a couple, and make memories alone like we did before we had kids. All the books say how vital it is to define yourself as a person...not just a mom. I want to to that, but being a mom is who I am. I have been with my babies since the day they were born. I am there when they need food, diaper changes, when they hurt themselves, I tuck them in bed, and tend to their every need. I do everything for them. Yes, they have been taken care of by others to go on dates, appointments and such, but never for days at a time. The thought of someone else being able to provide that for them when I am gone makes me a little sad. I think that is what is hard. Admitting that there are others out there that can fulfill their needs, and they can survive without me.

I think I sometimes have a hard time identifying myself without my children. To think of going somewhere without having to make sure the diaper bag is stocked is such a foreign thing it almost scares me! I also feel somewhat guilty admitting that I actually will have a good time because in someways it makes me feel like I am betraying the love I have for my children. I will ask myself, "If you really loved your children why would you WANT to get away from them!?"

Since the day Caden was born, I knew my life would never be the same. I would be forever changed by this little baby that I held in my arms. My life has gotten so much fuller. My heart is brimming with love and gratitude for my children. I would do anything for them to be happy. There are days when life is perfect. Then there are days when craziness sets in. Lets face it..we all need a break from time to time.

That is why we need to go on this cruise. Yes, I will miss my babies. Yes, the thought of someone else taking care of them scares me. Yes, I know they will be fine. If I admit to having more fun without my kids...does that make me a bad mom? I don't think so. I think that it means that I love my kids enough to find out who I am with out them. I think every mom deserves that. I will forever be a Mom, but I will also forever be Crystal. I think it is important to remember who we are...let our children see that we love life, and that they can too....without us.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love Thursday - Daddy & Daughter

I think that most mothers out there always are hoping that someday they will have a girl. One to dress up, to play with, to laugh with, and just plain pamper. Father's, on the other hand, think they want a boy. To play sports with, rough house, and teach them to be "men". Little do they know how much a girl will melt their hearts, and their lives will never be the same.

The day that Sydney was born. I saw it. The gleam in his eye that said that there were now two women in his life. Since they first made eye contact she has had him wrapped so tightly around his heart strings. There is a bond that will forever be intact.

As he stood there holding the small, precious bundle in his arms. I can only imagine what he was thinking. This new life that we made was finally here. She was a quiet baby, and still is very mellow. As Shawn held her, she didn't really cry. Just stared up into his eyes.

Over this past year it has been fun to watch their relationship grow. As Sydney has developed, so has her undying affection for her Daddy! One of the things that I love the most is when Shawn gets home from work. All I have to do is tell her "Daddy's home," and she drops everything and runs to the door. The grin on her face when she sees him is overflowing with joy. It kinda reminds me of a song that they sing in primary.

Daddy's Homecoming

I’m so glad when daddy comes home,
Glad as I can be;

Clap my hands and shout for joy,

Then climb upon his knee,

Put my arms around his neck,

Hug him tight like this,

Pat his cheeks,

then give him what?

A great big kiss.

She practically could have written this song herself. There is just something about a relationship that a daughter has with her father. Something that I don't think I could ever fulfill. I am thankful that she has a great dad. I look foward to her growing through the years, and watching as she continues to "Rule the World" in Fatherland. I truly think Shawn would do anything for her. He loves her so much! But then again who would be able to say "No" to her!

Go and spread some Love today! Hopefully you have some left over from yesterday! To find some more luvin' photo's go to "Love is All Around"

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Isn't this cute?

Okay I just had to post this because I thought it was so cute! When we had our activity last Saturday we had ordered Olive Garden salad dressing to put on the salad. I figured that it just came in a styrofoam to-go container...much like the kind you would get salsa in if you bought some from a restaurant. Nope it comes in a cute little jar!
I just love it, and I love their salad dressing. If anyone every wants to make this chick happy they can get me one of these! :)

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Who needs pets...I have children!

It never ceases to amaze me at how imaginative children can be. Caden right now believes that he is a dog. Let me rephrase that, he believes he is a dog only when he is eating! This has made things interesting at the table.

The other day he was trying to "lap" water out of MY cup. Instead of getting the leftovers of his lunch in my drink. I put his own water in a bowl so my 'puppy' could drink properly. Caden got a kick out of it!

He likes to eat popcorn the same way. Whenever he gets the chance he attempts to eat things using only his mouth. I think my children are trying to compensate for not having a pet by becoming the pet on their own. In some ways I think he is trying to subconsiously tell us that he needs one. I am just not willing to fulfill that need.

You see...Shawn and I are not "pet people." I can hear you all screaming now....sorry. Don't get me wrong. I do like dogs and cats, but not in my home. I just don't like the pet hair, smell, etc. that they leave behind. When Shawn and I first got married we decided that we wouldn't have pets for that very reason. Little did we know that we would have two children that seem to go ballistic with excitement whenever they see anything that walks on four legs.

Sydney is no exception. She is absolutely ecstatic when she sees them. I laugh whenever we go over to people's houses that have pets. She will run around chasing them screaming at the top of her lungs. I don't know if they appreciate listening to a screaming child, but I find it entertaining.

Sometimes I fear the day when my children actually start to beg for a pet. I know as child I always wanted a kitten. I know it will probably come, and then we will really have to figure out if that is something we can add to our family. Until then I will enjoy having my "pet", and give him all the loving that he desires.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Valentines Day!

For more participants go to 5 Minutes for Mom or the Wordless Wednesday HQ!

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Tackle It Tuesday - The Playroom

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Okay, the day is almost through but I had to post this. I have been a slacker the last couple of Tuesday's and haven't posted any Tackle's. I feel bad because I just had them add me to the blogroll! Sorry. It isn't that I haven't done anything just didn't take the time on Tuesday to post a tackle. I will do better I promise!

So today we tackled a huge feat! The playroom! Caden managed to dump out every single toy possible! What a mess! So together we worked on it and got it back to a nice organized room. I really should get rid of alot of the toys, but I just haven't. They wouldn't be able to make such a mess if he had less to play with. So without further are the pictures.



Now wouldn't it be nice if it could stay this way all the time! To see more tackles check out 5 Minutes for Mom!

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

So Glad its Over!

It was a crazy day! I am the Activities Chairperson in my ward at church. What does that mean, you may ask? I get to plan activities about every other month to entertain about 60-100 people for a couple of hours. When I first was asked to do this I thought..."Cool, I get to plan parties! I love parties!" Little did I know how much work is involved, and how hard it is to actually enjoy yourself when they are going on.

We had a "Valentines Dinner". The theme was "Love Will Keep Us Together". It was a great evening we had a great time, but I am so glad that it is over! My morning started out early. My committee and I met down at the church at 8 am to decorate and set up the gym for the evening. We were there for a couple of hours, and I got home around 11:30. Shawn had to leave for a meeting shortly afterwards. I spent the next couple of hours trying to get last minute things together, shower, and then wait for Shawn to get home. When Shawn got home I ran around for about an hour picking up stuff for the party. Got home and had to get back to the church by 4:30 pm. We had a pretty good turn out considering there was so much going on that weekend, and everything went smoothly. We ate dinner, and then had about 4 couples participate in a "Newlywed Game" They were pretty entertaining. I think everyone had fun.

The game was so fun to watch. Shawn acted as the Emcee, and asked all the questions. We had a range of different couples. Some had been married a few years, others had been married over 40 years. It is so interesting to watch people. I am a people watcher. I like to see how they interact. I hope in 50 years I can look back and laugh just as much as I do everyday with my husband. He is my comic relief everyday. I love him so much, and am thankful to have him in my life.

So I have one party down, and 5 more events left! I hope that I can plan things that can bring us together, and have fun...and not die of stress in the process! I am going to go fall over now!

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Friday, February 9, 2007

The Dutton's

I think this is going to be the year of reconnecting with old friends. It has been so fun this last couple of weeks because we have caught up with alot of friends that we hadn't seen in quite some time. Here is yet another one!

Shawn served a mission in Spain back in June of 1997 to June of 1999. While serving he worked alot with Elder Dutton. Benjamin Dutton. You may or may not have heard of "The Dutton's". They are a famous family out in Branson, Missouri. They have traveled the world putting on shows as a family. Shawn had noticed back at Christmas time that they performed at the Temple, and looked them up on the Internet. He ended up leaving his number, and it was misplaced until earlier this week. Ben got in touch, and hooked us up with tickets to their show tonight.

I didn't know what to expect because I didn't really know too much about them. Shawn said that all the people out in Spain just loved Ben. They had CD's of his family and played them all the time. I was just excited to go and meet one of Shawn's friends. When we arrived...we definitely stood out. I think a large majority of their fan base is "snowbirds" or retirees. We were probably some of the youngest ones in the auditorium.

When the concert started I was pleasantly surprised. It was such a wonderful program. They are such a neat family. There are 7 children in all, and they have been touring the world since 1991 putting on shows everywhere they go. It was really such an entertaining show. I play the violin, but haven't really touched a whole lot since I have had my kids. It really made me miss that part of my life.

It amazing how things change when you have children. I think we all think that we will keep things the same and not give up our lifestyle, but soon find out that is not the case. Things that we once took time to do are sacrificed for our children. Being there made me want to make more time to practice the one thing that consumed my world. I don't think I will ever be famous for my playing, but that is okay.

Ben's sister is an awesome violinist. In fact they all play, but she has won many awards for it. It was amazing to hear her play, and hear how well she plays. I could only dream to be able to play & sing for a living.

They definitely have and amazing life. Out in Branson they have their own theatre, hotel, and Deli! It is quite the production. They have decided to make Arizona their winter home, and will be here 6 months out of the year. It will be nice to be able to see them when they are out here.

It really got me thinking about their lifestyle. It brings a whole new meaning to spending time with family. They purchased two homes to live in when they are out here in AZ. That means that all 7 families live under the same roof for 6 months! Wow! I don't know if I could do something like that. I really admire their family. They are living out a dream, and are able to bask in the joy of it all together.

After the show we went out to The Outback" with Ben, and met his wife Brande. They are great people. It was really fun to listen to the stories that he and Shawn had to share about their missions. I think they had alot of fun reminiscing. Brande is alot of fun, and I can't wait to get to know the two of them better. They will be having a little break in March before they head back to Branson. We hope to get together with their 4 boys, and have some fun!

I have to say that I really enjoyed the evening. I hope that over time they will get better know here. I think that they really can appeal to anyone. I was thourghouly entertained, and hope to go to another show in the near future. In fact, I am trying to talk Shawn into getting tickets to a show in March when they will be at the Mesa Arts Center. I want to bring my mom. She is a Music Teacher and would love this! We will see.

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Favorite Ingredients Friday - Valentines Day: Chocolate Edition

When I saw this I thought I would have to participate this week because I love CHOCOLATE! I also love Peanut Butter...I think the combination is God's Gift from heaven! I came across this recipe awhile back from Kraft I just had to try it! If you like chocolate and peanut butter...this is for you! I will type out the recipe on this post or you can follow the link above to get the recipe off of the site itself. Enjoy!!!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ribbon Dessert

12 NUTTER BUTTER Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, divided
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tub (12 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted


CRUSH 8 of the cookies in resealable plastic bag with rolling pin. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom of foil-lined 9x5-inch loaf pan.

MIX cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 3 cups of the whipped topping. Spoon 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture into small bowl. Stir in melted chocolate until well blended; set aside. Spoon half of the remaining cream cheese mixture over crust. Top evenly with chocolate mixture; cover with remaining cream cheese mixture.

FREEZE 4 hours or overnight until firm. Invert onto plate. Remove foil, then re-invert onto serving platter so that crumb layer is on bottom. Coarsely break the remaining 4 cookies. Top dessert with remaining whipping topping and cookies.

If you would like to Double the Recipe Line 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Prepare recipe as directed, using the 1 tub (12 oz.) whipped topping but increasing the vanilla to 1 Tbsp. and doubling all remaining ingredients. Do not invert dessert to remove from pan but lift dessert from pan using foil handles. Cut into bars to serve. Makes 24 servings, one bar each.

BTW - You don't have to use the name brand ingredients. They just use them in their recipe because they are all Kraft products!

Hop on over to Overwhelmed with Joy for more yummy recipes!

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Friday's Feast #2

Appetizer - Have you been sick yet this winter? If so, what did you come down with?

I have been sick off and on throughout the winter. Thankfully not the flu, but I have had my fair share of cold's, and even got pink eye! (Thanks kids!)

Soup - What colors dominate your closet?

Hmm, that would mean that I would actually have to have clothes that I like. I need to go shopping. I don't have much of a wardrobe so no one color dominates the other...sad, I know!

Salad - How would you describe your personal "comfort zone"?

Well, It takes alot for me to feel uncomfortable. I am pretty outgoing, and I like to explore, love meeting new places, and seeing new things. I guess going out of my "comfort zone" would be being put in a situation that would compromise my values.

Main Course - On which reality show would you really like to be a contestant?

I am not really big into reality shows, but one that I love is the Amazing Race! I think it would be the coolest thing ever to do with my husband. Every season that it is on, I live vicariously through the contestants. I would love to travel the world, do things that I would never dream of, and make memories that would last a lifetime with the one man that I love the most. Besides I think that my husband and I would make some funny TV. We love each other to death, but probably would be the couple bickering about who is right. hehe. Then we would laugh at each other because we were fighting over something so stupid. The only problem is that I could never leave my babies for a whole month! So unless they have Amazing Race in 20 years...this is a dream that will never happen! Oh well...I will continue to have wishful thinking throughout each season!

Dessert - Which holiday would you consider to be your favorite?

That is a no brainer! CHRISTMAS! I love this time of year because it seems to bring out the best in everyone. The holiday lasts a whole month long. We gather with friends, and family, and do acts of service. It is just full of so much giving! I love it!

Feast with others at Friday's Feast! Or Do your own and link back to me! I would love to see your answers!

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Love Thursday #3

This is my beautiful daughter Sydney Ranelle. For this Love Thursday I thought I would post some pictures of the little girl whom I love so much. My husband captured these pictures one morning right after she woke up.

Words can't really express the love I have for my children. I feel that every person that is a parent can relate to that. There is something that is so miraculous about having a child. Even if it is through adoption. Knowing that you are responsible for teaching and raising this little child how to be a good person is such a responsibility! Children give you so much joy, and also heartache, but I would never trade it for anything!

I remember when I was pregnant with Syd. I was reading a book to Caden before his nap. Then I rocked him to sleep. As I was sitting there I began to cry. I realized in a short timeframe I would no longer have just one child and our moments would be changed forever.

It has changed I now have two children. My time is split between the two, but the love in my heart is grown, and I could not imagine life without them. Parenthood is a beautiful thing. It teaches you joy, pain, love, patience, silliness, sacrifice, and the list can go on and on. I am so thankful for this beautiful spirit that we have in our home she truly has blessed our lives in so many ways!

Go to Love is all Around for more pictures of Love Thursday! Have a great and Loving day!

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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

On My Mind

So I really haven't posted anything with any meat lately. That is because I have had alot on my mind these last couple of days. I try to write something that I feel would be amusing, a little funny, and entertaining but what has been on my mind is nothing of the sort. Yet it is all I have been thinking about so my muse for bloggin' was next to nothin'. I felt like I just need to get all my thoughts out so I can get on with life, and start feeling better. Please know in this post that these are my personal opinions and I am in no way trying to offend anyone. I am not trying to push my beliefs, but just stating what is on my brain!

I recently found out that a dear friend of mine decided to leave the church. For those of you who don't know I am LDS or Mormon as what we are better known as. I know there are many out there that don't believe the same way as I do...and that is okay. I believe that everyone has a right to worship as they choose. I feel the same way for my friend, yet at the same time I am deeply saddened by the choice.

It is not always easy to be a member of the church. There are many expectations and responsibilities that come with it. We are asked to refrain from alot of things that are considered okay in our society. We don't drink alcohol, are asked not to watch R-rated movies, no coffee, etc. Some people think we are weird, some think we are a cult, and some like us but don't believe some of the principles that are taught. We are asked to give 10% of our income for tithing. We are "called" to serve in different positions in the church. To give our time and talents when asked. I could go on with many things that we are asked to do and not to do, but I won't.

I was born and raised in the church. It has been part of me my entire life. I know with all of my heart that this is where I need to be. I guess that is why it was so hard for me to learn about my friend. I have spent too many days with thoughts running through my mind as to why this had to happen. Why my friend felt it necessary to delve into early church doctrine to try to disprove its authenticity. I don't really agree with the findings, but they know that. What I do know is that I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. I know that he lives. I am so thankful for his sacrifice for me and everyone else on this earth. I am so thankful for the blessings in my life, and the great influence that the church has had on me. I would not be the same person without it.

I have just been so confused because I know at one point my friend had a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I know because this person told me. I watched as this person served a mission, and got letters telling of the wonderful time they were having, and how blessed they were to teach others about the gospel, and how they knew what they were doing was right. And then I sat and listened as I was told that they never really believed, and always had issues they didn't agree with. It just broke my heart because the gospel is so important to me, and at one point in time to this person...and now it is not.

It is kinda funny because I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters, many of which have either left the church or have struggled with inactivity (that is the word used for someone who goes to church off and on) yet their decision didn't hit me as hard as my friends did. I don't know why I let it effect me so much. I guess I just never thought it would happen and then it did, and it shocked me to the core. I bawled for days, lost alot of sleep, and have let it consume me trying to understand. I probably will never understand, but that is okay. I can't control my friend, but I can still be a friend. That is what I plan to do. It hurts, but I know they are happy...and I can't be hurt about that.

If this person happens to read this I hope that they know that I will always be there. I will never like them less, and am glad that they found something to be passionate about. Hopefully, I didn't say anything to make you mad - it was not my intention. I just had to get this off my chest. I think that you expected a reaction like this, and that is why you waited so long to tell me, but I am glad you told me. Know I may never understand your decision, but I respect it. I love you guys with all of my heart and nothing you do or say will ever change that.

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Wordless Wednesday #4

For more participants check out 5 Minutes for Mom or the Offical Wordless Wednesday HQ!

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Blogging Chicks

Hey all! Just wanted to draw attention to a blogroll that I added to my blog! It is the Blogging Chicks. It is a blogroll that is exclusively for women. So check out some blogs on this blogroll, and hopefully you may find something really interesting to read!

BTW-You can see that I have fallen off the planet for awhile. Sorry. Things have been crazy around here. I hope to post something of significance sometime today. So stay tuned!

Have a super day!

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Get your Hot Dogs, Popcorn, Cotton Candy!

Kids birthday parties can be so much fun. Especially when they are at someone else's home. Since having kids and putting together parties for them I have a deeper appreciation for all the work that goes into the whole production. I can honestly say that this one was so much fun for the kids, and am thankful for all the work that Mark and Cindi put into it.

It was Lanah's 3rd Birthday. She is the daughter of our good friends. Mark and Cindi are awesome! We have so much fun when we hang out with them. Friendship is such a wonderful thing. We have known them for a little over 7 years now. Looking back we have alot of good memories. They are one couple that it doesn't seem to matter how much time has past since we saw them we can just sit down and shoot the breeze and have a good time. It is as if we saw them yesterday. Mark and Shawn have the same birthday, and our kids are the same age. In fact, Sydney and Payton (I hope I spelled that right) are only a day apart. A couple of years ago they moved out to Peoria, which is almost an hour drive from our we don't get to see them that often.

This was actually the first "friend" party that Caden has been invited to. I wanted to get him excited to go so I took him to the store to help pick out a gift for Lanah. Cindi said that they already had enough toys so we thought we would pick out some books for her. We went down the book aisle and asked Caden what books he thought that Lanah would like. He looked at alot of the books. We finally settled on a "Little People" and Elmo book. They were flap books. Ones that you lifted the flap and there was something under it. Caden was so excited, but also wanted to play with the books. I had to explain to him that they were for Lanah, and we couldn't play with them. He was upset because he really wanted to read them. Then he kept asking when we were going to Lanah's house for her birthday. I don't know if it was because he wanted to see her, or if he just wanted to read the books. Either way he couldn't wait to go!

When we finally got there Caden had a blast! They really made it fun. It was set up like a carnival in there back yard. They served hot dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy...and then had a bouncer & different carnival games they could play to win prizes.

On a side note, Caden had a few accidents while we were there. As for the potty update, he is doing pretty well...except for the poop part. We went through two pairs of pant while there. I think he was just too excited with all that there was to do that he didn't want to take the time to go #2. He had me take him to go pee, but did the rest of his business in his pants. *joy* It has gotten a little frustrating, but I am trying to get through it. I looked into some things on the internet and hope to use that information to get him fully trained. Cross your fingers for me!

It was great to hang out, and catch up a little bit on how they were doing. As soon as Lanah 'opened' our present, Caden promptly took them over. I may just have to get some for him. Hopefully she will enjoy them as much as Caden did.

Sydney had a lot of fun too. More than anything I think she loved the popcorn. She was too little to go in the bouncer, but I got her to toss some bean bags, and balls. We were even able to take some pictures of Sydney and Payton together. They are two cute girls. I am really looking forward to watching both of our kids grow up together. I even came across some pictures of them when they were only a few months old! Look how much they have grown.

Lanah was as pretty as ever. She got this really cute princess dress...and just had to put it on. Shortly after she crashed from exhaustion and I was able to snap a couple of pictures. What a beautiful little girl. Happy Birthday Lanah!

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Love Thursday -# 2

This picture was actually taken in 2004, but I could not pass it up. This is Caden and my sister Cathy at her wedding. Caden had crashed during the reception and we were able to get this sweet picture of the two of them. I love my sister so much. I love to see her with my kids because you can see that she loves them as much as I do. Cathy is actually due to have her own son in June. I am so excited for her and the new journey that awaits. Family is such a wonderful thing. I am so thankful to have such a large and loving one. Go here for more pictures of "Love Thursday."

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