Monday, December 29

Up Sale the Female

I'm sure you are familiar with this concept. It is not new. I have fallen for it (more than once) I will admit!

It is usually mechanical or electronic in nature.

The men in my life (starting with my dad!) have warned me about it and continue to remind me about it. They even step in (thankyouverymuch) when they sense I am falling for it.

This weekend I came head-to-head with it and was victorious!

My most expensive encounter with it was when I was pregnant with Kendal. One tire had a slow leak. With two little boys in tow, I headed to the tire store for a quick and cheap repair. My tire was inspected. I was informed that I should invest not only in a new tire--but 4 new tires--special tires for the Arizona heat. Especially since (and at this point a nod towards my little boys and then one toward my baby bump was added for dramatic flair) I had such precious cargo! I couldn't argue with that, and it happened. The men in my life were not amused.

This weekend it played out a bit different.

"Don't let them up sale you" reminded Cliff, who was guiding me (long-distance) via cell phone on the purchase of a router.

I listened to the salesman do his thing. It is his job after all. Being nice pays off. He ended up showing me one like his...on a clearance shelf...way in the back. I wouldn't have found it on my own.

I know, a router! I installed it. It is okay to be impressed. I am :)

My wireless connection is is good!

Wednesday, December 24

'Twas the Night Before Christmas and...

well...kind of. I'm not actually on the beach. But, my feet are kicked up--in a relaxed position.
I'm ready people!
Truth be told, I've been ready for a little while now...except for that last trip to the grocery know. DONE! And oh yeah, wrapping those last few gifts! DONE!

I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. I love the shared moments with family and friends. I love the sights and sounds. I even love the chill in the (desert) air. I love the celebration of the birth of our Savior.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Warm and beautiful wishes to you!

Saturday, December 20

CHOCOLATE...It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!

That's what a sign in my kitchen proclaims.
We are not a "vanilla" family. We just aren't!
I had almost a full gallon of vanilla ice cream--left over from Chloe's birthday party--sitting in my freezer.

Lonely and almost forgotten.

Apparently, most of the party-goers preferred the more flavorful options also :)

So, with ingredients found in my kitchen, I whipped up this hot fudge sauce...

...and the vanilla ice cream got eaten!

**Heather (my friend at The Healthy Bite) please don't judge me too harshly :)
**The rest of's the delightful recipe...enjoy!

Hot Fudge Sauce
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
4 ounces chocolate (squares or pieces...I used choc. chips)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat milk and sugar to rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add chocolate; stir until melted. Beat over heat until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in margarine, vanilla and salt.

Please note, beat well is not one of the ingredients...nor is bacon powder!

Monday, December 15

Need a Little Beat Well

Jordan picked Germany.
3rd grade...Christmas report/project.
Seemed logical...Grandma & Grandpa Bracken were there, serving a mission.

Bright idea! His or mine? Can't remember.
Let's bake German Christmas cookies for the class to munch on during the report.

Me: (in the kitchen - making grocery list)
Jordan: (at the table - chosen recipe in hand)
Me: "Okay Jord, read off the ingredients."
Jordan: "Sugar. Yup, we've got that. Butter. Yup, we've got that. Add two eggs and beat well. We've got the eggs. Beat well. Put that on the list, mom. We need beat well!"

I love this time of year.
Family. Traditions. Memories.

Thursday, December 11

Yes, We Have No Bananas

We did, but they were turning they were turned into

Banana & Peanut Butter Muffins

Simple and tasty. (I thought about adding a crumble topping. But no...simple is what caught my eye when I discovered this recipe. I stuck to it!)

I have a funny relationship with bananas. My attraction to them Yes, that's it! Under-ripe is not one bit appealing (hard to peel, waxy after-taste) nor is over-ripe. That leaves a 2 day span for a banana to even be considered (by me) for consumption.

I will omit my feelings regarding bruises and "strings". You get it, right?

As I eyed these 2 bananas, I had a few options:

  • Toss them (which would be breaking one of my '08 resolutions regarding produce)

  • Make banana bread (I love my mom's recipe, but it's a bit time consuming)

  • Find a simple recipe of some sort
    1. Simple won. The hint of peanut butter is very subtle. If you've got a few unattractive bananas hanging around, try this!

      2 1/2 cups flour

      1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

      1 tsp. baking soda

      1/3 cup butter (or margarine)

      1/4 cup peanut butter

      1/2 cup sugar

      2 eggs

      1 cup milk

      2 ripe (or over-ripe) bananas

      Preheat oven 375 degrees. In medium bowl bowl combine first 3 ingredients and set aside. In large bowl beat butter & peanut butter until smooth. Add sugar and mix until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs. With mixer on low, alternately beat in flour mixture, milk and bananas until blended. Bake for 20 minutes. 12 yummy muffins!

      Approved and recommended by our birthday girl, Chloe! (we munched on them for breakfast...she's a very loving food critic)

      Sunday, December 7

      Decking the Halls

      Put this together this afternoon.
      Wanted something outdoorsy AND romantic.
      Thanks Kendal, for talking me into getting the gold, glittery, twig thingies. I resisted, but you glad!
      A bit messy to work with...but, oh-so fun!
      And ahhhhh, the feathers!

      $9.3 - In billions, the estimated national sales for holiday decorations last year.

      $20 - Amount the typical American household spent on seasonal decorations in 2006. (I wanna know, how did they do that?)

      269 - In feet, the height of the Guinness Book of World Records' largest Christmas tree.

      25% - Percentage of respondents who purchased a live tree last year, according to a poll by the National Christmas Tree Association.

      25,000 - Number of lights on Clark Griswold's house in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

      While decking, I use my collection of antique/vintage angels. Such cute faces!
      What are your fave things to "deck" with?

      Monday, December 1

      A Crack on Our STONE!

      With my little dude...before the crack. Jordan & Rachel had just departed. You know, towards Utah.
      The rest of us...enjoying the oh-so beautiful last day of November.

      Duck Feeding

      Slippery Sliding

      Shoulder Riding

      Time for dinner.

      Then off to the Klepinger's to play/visit.

      While having a blast playing with Carson and his fun toys, Stone took a spill & cracked his lip.

      A quick trip around the corner to get a doctor's opinion. Thanks Rob and Reader family! A quick trip to Urgent Care. Back to Rob's. Then off to one of Rob's friends (a plastic surgeon).

      After a bit of drama, much relief after both doctors concluded stitches & sedation (due to Stone's wiggly age) would not be necessary!

      Family rocks! And our Stone will heal.

      After the crack...and before we cleaned up his face and shirt.

      Leann and Carson dropped by tonight with some new cars (see on top of the steering wheel) and goodies. Carson has a sympathy injury on his forehead (see the bandage?).
      We miss you Jordan and Rachel. The babies are looking everywhere for you :) We can't wait for your baby!