We Seek After
These Things
Currently serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's a Party . . .

It's a party around my house today! I've had so many wonderful friends sharing all their great 50+ stories and thoughts with me, that I've really arrived in a festive place. So we are celebrating at my blog today!

We have balloons!




Any my favorite dessert recipe of all time - this is soooo good, you are just gonna die almost when you try it.





Macadamia Fudge Torte

NGREDIENTS:
Filling
1/3cup low-fat sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/2cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cake
1(18.25-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Moist Supreme® Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 1/2teaspoons cinnamon
1/3cup oil
1(15-oz.) can sliced pears in light syrup, drained
3eggs
1/3cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
2teaspoons water
Sauce
1(17-oz.) jar butterscotch caramel ice cream topping
1/3cup milk
DIRECTIONS:
1.Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9 or 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. In small saucepan, combine filling ingredients; cook over medium-low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.
2.In large bowl, combine cake mix, cinnamon and oil; blend at low speed for 20 to 30 seconds or until crumbly. (Mixture will be dry.)
3.Place pears in blender container or food processor bowl with metal blade; cover and blend until smooth.
4.In another large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of the cake mix mixture, pureed pears and eggs; beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Spread batter evenly in sprayed pan. Drop filling by spoonfuls over batter. Stir nuts and water into remaining cake mix mixture. Sprinkle over filling.
5.Bake at 350°F. for 45 to 50 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 10 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Cool 1 1/2 hours or until completely cooled.
6.In small saucepan, combine sauce ingredients; cook over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until well blended, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, spoon 2 tablespoons warm sauce onto each individual dessert plate. Top each with wedge of torte. If desired, serve with ice cream and garnish with chocolate curls.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) Add 1/4 cup flour to dry cake mix; increase water to 1/4 cup. Bake as directed above.


If you think it sounds familiar it is! It won the grand prize for the Pillsbury Bake off several years back. It is soooooo easy to make.

And now . . . as a special treat, I'm heading over to Carolyns to read a great story entitled the "Mormon Vegas Wedding"

I can hardly wait. She is a great story teller!






Keep your eye on Pickled Pepper Photography today, I'll be posting a fabulous engagement preview of Cory & Sara!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just Making a few Changes Around Here

It's been a time of changing seasons around here. Not only are the leaves just beginning to turn to beautiful Autumn colors, but things are changing in a seasonal way around the house also. Kelsie leaving for college, Karianne getting married, Dustin & Cami moving across the country. Cory & Sara getting engaged . . . (oh! did I forget to mention that Cory & Sara got just recently become engaged! Well, that is a topic for a whole 'nother blog!)


Just this week I have started to look at things and see them in a different way. And it looked to me like I needed a little something new in the girls bathroom. So off I went to Ross. Sometimes, you gotta love that place! Not much money to spend . . . and this is what I came up with.

It used to look something like this -





Couldn't resist the frog! So green became the NEW color . . . then I found some delicious smelling Rosemary Mint hand soap that just makes you want to wash all day! (Great inspiration with flu season coming up to just keep on washing those hands:)



A set of new towels and a pretty bathroom rug later, voila - the room has a bright new look.



When the girls left, thankfully they took the 20 bottles of opened shampoo, conditioner and various body scrubs with them! So I picked up my very own choice of shampoo, conditioner and soap to have on hand when someone stops by. I can hardly wait to be a guest in my own bathtub, perfect for a relaxing morning.



I found some inexpensive artwork and a new basket to store extra towels. But the one thing I couldn't bear to part with is this little piece that contains one of my favorite bathtub thoughts . . .


It reminds me of all the days we had a tubful of cousins, bubbles and tubby toys!
(In case you can't read it it says-)

There's too many kids in the Tub
There's too many elbows to scrub
I just washed the behind
Of one that's not mine
There's too many kids in the Tub!



Yep, like I said, sometimes I just love Ross for an inexpensive updo! You never know what you're going to find there, but for me this week - it worked!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

50? No Thanks, I'd REALLY rather not . . .

As much as I keep trying to avoid it, my birthday is coming up next week. And I will sadly leave my 40's behind. They have been such wonderful years. Some of my very favorite I think. (Like if I have to pick an era to be the favorite - it's certainly up there in the running.)

So it is with much denial, procrastination and prolongment, that I am hanging on to 49 with my toenails. Which are badly in need of a pedicure by the way. Really, one year shouldn't make such a difference. Just one more year . . . I don't expect to wake up on Sept 28 and feel 50 for heavens sake!~

I think I'll just keep pretending that the amazing lunch we had last week, the one where we ate divine panini's, yummy salads, Paula Deen's Savannah Hot Fudge cake and homemade ice cream (recipe below) was really just another super duper day. And not some big celebration in
honor of my 50th. Even though I was paid some of the highest compliments of my life! My sweet friends, they just made me want to cry. EVERYONE should get compliments for their birthday. I am going to remember that. Anyone have a birthday coming up?

I think I'll just keep pretending that the wonderful friend who took me here (where we experienced heavenly food that I didn't even know existed in the world!) to celebrate my 50th, was really just thinking dinner out together with our husbands was an outstanding way to spend a Saturday evening. Which it was, and not another celebration of that unmentionable 5 . . . 0 . . . anniversary of the day I came into the world.

Oh, and thank you wonderful family, who all gathered together at mom's house today and prepared the most delicious BBQ, complete with all the trimmings, and brought such lovely gifts, special just for me, that I will treasure! I know it wasn't meant to remind me of that unusually high number of birthdays that I will soon (like in another 10 years I think) reach, but instead to express just how much they love me, which I did so much enjoy and cherish and will remember for always.



Oh well, I'm actually feeling so blessed, so nourished and so filled right now. If this is 50, maybe it's not so bad after all.





Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

3 ripe bananas
juice of 2 lemons
juice of 3 oranges
5 cups of strawberries or raspberries
2 C. sugar
2 C. whole milk
4 C. heavy cream
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Process the first four ingredients in food processor to desired chunkiness (Note - do not process raspberries, but leave whole).

Add sugar and continue to process.

Stream whole milk and heavy cream into the processor and continue to blend. Add Vanilla.

Process immediately according to directions in homemade ice cream freezer with ice and rock salt.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tim Mcgraw - Chicken & Dumplings

I don't know who to thank for this one. It would be either TIVO, because without it I would have missed this one, or Oprah, because it was on her "All Time Favorite Recipes Show" which I finally got to watch today and laughed my head off, or Tim Mcgraw. Simply because he is a very handsome man in an apron. (Sorry honey, you look awfully sexy in an apron as well!)

But anyway, if you're looking for something for dinner tonight and you have some chicken in the refrigerator or freezer, or you just want a little cooking inspiration or a good laugh, you better watch this over at Oprah.com.

Tim McGraw's Chicken and Dumplings

Tim McGraw made his grandmother's chicken and dumplings for Faith Hill when they were dating! They go perfectly with Faith's cornbread.

Watch Tim and Faith make this recipe! Watch

Ingredients:


  • 1 small chicken
  • Water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter shortening
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
Boil chicken in a pot, adding salt to taste. When tender, pull chicken from the bone and return to the pot, adding broth.

In a bowl, combine shortening and flour, mix together with a pastry cutter, then add buttermilk to form a doughy consistency (similar to how you would make biscuits). Sprinkle flour on cutting board. Pinch off part of the dough and roll into a thin sheet and cut into squares. Drop one square at a time into broth. Continue this until all of the dough is used. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer until tender.

Allow the dumplings to thicken the broth for 2 hours until it is a creamy consistency.


Hope I made you smile: And now you got something for dinner.




Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Low Tech Dorm Decor



Thought I'd share a cute decorating technique Kelsie and her roommate used while putting their college bedrooms together. Sure wish I'd thought of a fun idea like that when I was into early apartment decor! It would work great in a teenage bedroom also.



The girls in Kelsie's apartment weren't allowed to use any nails in the walls. So, creatively, they tied twine to different posts in their bedrooms or used the sticky tack to hang the twine from the walls and used clothes pins to hang up some of their favorite photos.

Pretty smart thinking!



Monday, September 14, 2009

Where did that come from?

Ah ha! I'm beginning to see a new side of this lifestyle that I haven't experienced in the last 27 years. When something gets cleaned (which isn't often at this point, we're still returning STUFF we borrowed for the wedding, squishing air out of the Lake Powell toys, putting bins back down in the basement from the college move, and vacuuming up the mounds of dog hair since they have had the run of the household for the last month)

BUT . . . when something DOES get clean, it stays that way for at least five minutes!

I mean, look at this . . .




It's something I haven't seen for the last 10 years.

The counter tops in the girls bathroom.

Wow, it looks pretty nice in there! I usually just avoid it at all costs. One could get lost just going in to use the facilities! You're lucky if you can find the soap amidst all the cans of hair products, face cleaners, acne remedies, hairbrushes and scrunchy things. I'm feeling kind of bad that when my boys were home I actually made them use that bathroom as well . . . oh well . . .

It's been tidy for a whole week almost. Hmmm . . . I'm thinking . . . now that I can see it all clearly, it might need a little update . . . thinking I might need to go shopping to use up some of this spare time . . .

Stay tuned, I'll let you know how it turns out:)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Official




The last little chickie has officially "flown the coop" The nest is empty. I'm really kinda sad about that but getting better everyday. Thankgoodness for cell phones, text messaging, picture messages and Facebook! Ha! Never thought I'd say that! And promise - I AM NOT a helicopter parent. (at least I don't think so . . . .)

Earlier this week we helped Kelsie pack up all her belongings and head off to college. Sure it's only four hours away, and sure, she'll be home probably like once a month. And we did get to drive up with her and help her get all settled in and meet the new roommates. It was actually such a fun day. She has roommates that have come from all across the country, Dublin Ohio, Florida . . . and truthfully, I think she will have a wonderful time this year!

It was amazing to see her through some new eyes. She has always been the youngest, the one who got to hang around with mom and dad forever (in her limited free time) and even though I tried to look at her and see her as a beautiful eighteen year old young woman, I frequently would glance at her and think she still looks about 12. (Not to mention, that I cannot possibly be old enough to have my youngest be 18, I was just in her shoes a couple years ago . . .)

Therefore, it truly was awesome to see the way she acclimated so quickly, jumping right into meeting new people, introducing herself, finding her way around campus and taking care of all the necessary paperwork and dubious registration tasks. Where did this girl come from? I was so proud of her.

When I saw the mounds of stuff piled into their little apartment I thought "no way", it's not all going to fit. But these girls have exceptional organizational skills. I still can't believe they fit it all in.





So once the cupboards were filled and the beds were all made, Norm and I said our "goodbye's" and climbed in the car for the drive home. For once, I got to pull out my ipod and pick the playlist. We listened to our tunes, and visited about grownup things all the way home.

Any regrets? Just one perhaps . . . teaching her to do her own laundry at the age of 12. Otherwise I'd be seeing her for sure this weekend :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sigh . . . Yawn . . . Stretch . . .

Wow, this is a momentous occasion. I just finished teaching Relief Society today. An impromptu lesson at the last minute. And now . . . it is such a wonderful feeling, I'm NOT in crisis mode. I've been in crisis mode for so long I was beginning to think it was a permanent lifestyle.

You know what I mean I'm sure. Where you just go from one activity to the next because it's urgent. It's finally come to the TOP of the urgent list and the activity finally get's your complete attention. I have been constantly at the top of the urgent list for so long and now . . . well . . . I've finished my urgent list! I never thought it would happen. At least until tomorrow when I'm sure something will come up and I'll begin the 'urgent' list all over again. (Like the dog hair will be about knee high and I'll have to get out the vacuum - urgently :)


Speaking of tomorow, we take our youngest up to college, move her in, get her settled, take her out to dinner, help her unpack (let's see, can we linger any longer) and then leave to come back home to our "empty nest". I'm certain that I am not quite ready for this. Lunch anyone?

I've been coaching my newly married Karianne on the "how to's" of blog construction. You'll have to visit her and check out her efforts. I've convinced her that we must have this if she is going to live all the way across the country. So far good job honey - I LOVE it so far!

I love to frequent Dustin & Cami's blogs also. My super talented daughter-in-law truly needs a whole separate blog for all of her projects. She is such an inspiration to me. Someday, when I grow up I hope to develop just a smidgin of her talent.

Yep, I think blogs are for mom's, and webcams, and facebook and email and text messaging. Don't know how our mom's survived without 'em.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

All in a Days Work . . .


I've been slaving away in the kitchen all day making the most yummy homemade salsa. I generally would hesitate to say so, but honestly I think this salsa is just TO DIE for :)

If anyone is interested you an find the recipe here.

Also, I ran across this on a friends sight and chuckled all the way through it. Just had to copy it and share, it was too humerous not too. Can anyone besides me relate to this over and over again? So here goes . . .

I wish Google Maps had an, "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too
apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

-How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

Was learning cursive really necessary?

LOL has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

Bad decisions make good stories.

Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....

You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment in the day when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...

My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How do I respond to that?

I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this, ever.

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Darn-it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

Okay, hope I got you smiling:)



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Where to start . . .

Where do you start when you jump off the face of the earth for a month or more?

Or rather host a wedding, and then take off for almost a month on a houseboat at Lake Powell?

As well as travel to Ohio for a quick visit and an Ohio wedding reception.

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We had such a great time with friends and family - just relaxing, enjoying each other company, playing games and hanging out in the water.


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I love Lake Powell, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth - and I feel so lucky to have
it right close to where we live. Also we had an opportunity to spend time with Karianne
and Greg before they move back to Ohio to live!


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I think relaxing on the houseboat was the perfect way to recover but now I do have piles of laundry in every corner of the house and a mountain of unpacking to do.

And just when did it get to be September already?


So, I was wondering where to start and ran across this on Joy's blog - it seemed the perfect thing . . .

The ABC's of Me
so here goes!
A- Age: 49 . . . and holding (and will be forever it think:)
B- Bed size: king size - have to have room for two large labs
C- Chore you hate: cleaning the shower stall
D- Dad's name: Fritz
E- Essential start of your day: hubbies hot chocolate before getting out of bed (yep, I'm spoiled)
F- Favorite color: black (honestly)
G- Gold or Silver: Gold
H- Height: 5' 6"
I- Instruments you play: Piano, and flute (at least once upon a time)
J- Job title: Mom and part time RN
K- Kids: 4
L- Living arrangements: with my increasingly diminishing family (Joy - it describes me perfectly also)
M- Mom's name: Gayle
N- Nicknames: ? (not one I can think of . . .)
O- Overnight stay in a hospital other than your birth: birth of 4 children and 1 night stay after abdominal surgery
P- Pet Peeve: Finding a sink full of dirty dishes with 5 ablebody dish dooers
Q- Quote from a movie: "Fellas, last year I made 3 million dollars, but your 50 thousand was the most fun. Are you ready? Then let's go get 'em"
R- Right or left handed: right
S- Siblings: 1 sister, 1 brother
T- Time you wake up: 6:30 am
U- Underwear: of course!
V- Vegetable you dislike: Hmm . . . I love veggies . . . collard greens? (at least they sound yucky!)
W- What you like to drink: Diet Coke
X-rays you've had: sprained ankle and lower back
Y- Yummy food you make: monster cookies
Z- Zoo favorites: lions, tigers and bears oh my!

I'd love to get to know each one of you better. Feel free to copy and paste into your blog. Then be sure to send me a link!


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