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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Rewards for Mom and Dad

A few weeks ago I told you about the reading programs for kids.

Now the Salt Lake County Library System has one for adults. You can earn free stuff if you sign up at your local SL County library and fill out a passport. They are available at the library's main desk, in most cases.

You need to read 4 books and do 4 "free activities" such as read to a child, attend a book club, write a book review on the library website, etc. and in August you are eligible for an award. Pretty easy. You will need to take your passport into the library during the months of July and August to have it stamped, but since you're likely going there anyway either for you or the kids, it's not too hard.

I have a few extra passports if you want one. This is good at any SL County Library. If you can't get away in real life, may as well escape in a book.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fourth of July Fun

We love the bbqs, fireworks and fun that this holiday brings. It means a lot to our family, not only is it Andy's birthday, and for a brief 29 days, we are the same age, but he served his mission in England and since coming home he is extremely patriotic. So we celebrate big time here.

There will be sparklers, yeah, don't call CPS, the kids are fully supervised and have been through a safety seminar on how to properly use the things. There will be cake and hot dogs, grilled chicken and Popsicles. There will also be marshmallow gun fights, and water balloon fights.

Here is a basic instructions guide to make your own PVC marshmallow gun. Courtesy of Marie at We made a bunch of these after a family reunion a few years ago. Use the tiny marshmallows and have a great time making memories.

You need about 3 feet of 1/2" schedule 40 PVC pipe, 2 threadless T's, 2 threadless elbow joints, and 2 threadless caps (all to fit the 1/2" pipe.)  Oh, and you need something to cut the pipe.  If you're only making a few guns, a hand saw will work fine.  If you're making lots, I recommend a chop saw.

Using a pencil, mark the pipe for the following measurements:  One 7" piece, Two 5" pieces, and Four 3" pieces.  Because I am cutting a billion pieces, I mark several pipes at once and line up laundry baskets to sort the different sizes in.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mealtime Mondays

Yeah! It’s Monday. Here’s what’s being served at the Larsen Café and Bakery this week, enjoy!

Hawaiian Haystacks—we can’t go there, but we can pretend!

Sloppy Joe’s and Fries

Pigs in a blanket

Luau Grilled Chicken—again we need Hawaii; Super easy recipe. Either marinate your chicken in ½ c. soy sauce, 1 c. pineapple juice (or ½ c. sugar), 1 c. water; 1 clove minced garlic and 1 tsp. Ginger; OR get a McCormick Luau seasoning packet and use that. Mix everything together and pour over meat. Marinade 1-4 hours and grill.

Thai-Style Chicken Skillet
¾ lb.                Boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
2 Tbsp.            Soy sauce
1 pkg.             Rice-A-Roni Chicken & Broccoli flavor rice
2 Tbsp.            Creamy peanut butter
1                      garlic clove, pressed
1 ½ cups            Frozen Pea pods
½         cup            Red pepper, strips
                        Peanuts (opt.)

1-     Toss chicken with soy sauce, set aside. In large skillet over medium heat, sauté rice mix with 1 Tbsp. Butter/margarine.
2-     Slowly stir in 1 ¾ cups water, seasonings, and peanut butter, garlic. Stir in chicken; bring to boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer 12 minutes.
3-     Stir in peapods, peppers-return to simmer. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes until veggies are crisp- tender. Stir. Let stand 3 minutes. Top w/ peanuts if desired.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

12 Uses for Bleach

It's been awhile since I've done one of these. Time to tighten the purse strings, and here's an easy way. Enjoy!

12 Smart Ways to Use Bleach

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

1. Clean off mold and mildew Bleach and ammonia are both useful for removing mold and mildew both inside and outside your home. However, the two should never be used together. Bleach is especially suited for the following chores:
  • Wash mildew out of washable fabrics. Wet the mildewed area and rub in some powdered detergent. Then wash the garment in the hottest water set-ting permitted by the clothing manufacturer using 1/2 cup chlorine bleach. If the garment can’t be washed in hot water and bleach, soak it in a solution of 1/4 cup oxygen bleach (labeled “all fabric” or “perborate”) in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water for 30 minutes before washing.
  • Remove mold and mildew from the grout between your bathroom tiles. Mix equal parts of chlorine bleach and water in a spray bottle, and spray it over grout. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse off. You can also do this just to make your grout look whiter.
  • Get mold and mildew off your shower curtains. Wash them — along with a couple of bath towels (to prevent the plastic curtains from crinkling) — in warm water with 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and 1/4 cup laundry detergent. Let the washer run for a couple of minutes before loading. Put the shower curtain and towels in the dryer on the lowest temperature setting for 10 minutes, then immediately hang-dry.
  • Rid your rubber shower mat of mildew. Soak in a solution of 1/8 cup (3.7 liters) chlorine bleach in 1 gallon water for 3-4 hours. Rinse well.
  • Get mildew and other stains off unpainted cement, patio stones, or stucco. Mix a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) water. Scrub vigorously with a stiff or wire brush and rinse. If any stains remain, scrub again using 1/2 cup washing soda (this is sodium carbonate, not baking soda) dissolved in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) warm water.
  • Remove mildew from painted surfaces and siding. Make a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach in 2 cups water and apply with a brush to mildewed areas. Let the solution set for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat as necessary.
2. Sterilize secondhand items Remember Mom saying, “Put that down. You don’t know where it’s been”? She had a point — especially when it comes to toys or kitchen utensils picked up at thrift shops and yard sales. Just to be on the safe side, take your used, waterproof items and soak them for 5-10 minutes in a solution containing 3/4 cup bleach, a few drops of antibacterial dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon warm water. Rinse well, then air-dry, preferably in sunlight.
3. Clean butcher block cutting boards and countertops Don’t even think about using furniture polish or any other household cleaner to clean a butcher block cutting board or countertop. Rather, scrub the surface with a brush dipped in a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach diluted in 2 quarts (2 liters) water. Scrub in small circles, and be careful not to saturate the wood. Wipe with a slightly damp paper towel, then immediately buff dry with a clean cloth.
4. Brighten up glass dishware Put the sparkle back in your glasses and dishes by adding a teaspoon of bleach to your soapy dishwater as you’re washing your glassware. Be sure to rinse well, and dry with a soft towel.
5. Shine white porcelain Want to get your white porcelain sink, candleholder, or pottery looking as good as new? In a well-ventilated area on a work surface protected by heavy plastic, place several paper towels over the item (or across the bottom of the sink) and carefully saturate them with undiluted bleach. Let soak for 15 minutes to a half hour, then rinse and wipe dry with a clean towel. Note: Do not try this with antiques; you can diminish their value or cause damage. And never use bleach on colored porcelain, because the color will fade.
6. Make a household disinfectant spray Looking for a good, all-purpose disinfectant to use around the house? Mix 1 tablespoon bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) hot water. Then fill a clean, empty spray bottle and use it on a paper towel to clean countertops, tablecloths, lawn furniture — basically, wherever it’s needed. Just be sure not to use it in the presence of ammonia or other household cleaners.
7. Disinfect trash cans Even the best housekeepers must confront a gunked-up kitchen garbage pail every now and then. On such occasions, take the pail outside, and flush out any loose debris with a garden hose. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup bleach and several drops of dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water. Use a toilet brush or long-handled scrub brush to splash and scour the solution on the bottom and sides of the container. Empty, then rinse with the hose, empty it again, and let air-dry.
8. Increase cut flowers’ longevity Freshly cut flowers will stay fresh longer if you add 1/4 teaspoon bleach per quart (1 liter) of vase water. Another popular recipe calls for 3 drops bleach and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 quart (1 liter) water. This will also keep the water from getting cloudy and inhibit the growth of bacteria.
9. Clean plastic lawn furniture Is your plastic-mesh lawn furniture looking dingy? Before you place it curbside, try washing it with some mild detergent mixed with 1/2 cup bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. Rinse it clean, then air-dry.
10. Kill weeds in walkways Do weeds seem to thrive in the cracks and crevices of your walkways? Try pouring a bit of undiluted bleach over them. After a day or two, you can simply pull them out, and the bleach will keep them from coming back. Just be careful not to get bleach on the grass or plantings bordering the walkway.
11. Get rid of moss and algae To remove slippery and unsightly moss and algae on your brick, concrete, or stone walkways, scrub them with a solution of 3/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. Be careful not to get bleach on your grass or ornamental plants.
12. Sanitize garden tools You cut that diseased stalk off your rosebush with your branch clipper. Unless you want to spread the disease the next time you use the tool, sterilize it by washing it with 1/2 cup bleach in 1 quart (1 liter) water. Let the tool air-dry in the sun, then rub on a few drops of oil to prevent rust.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome Back

I did miss Mealtime Mondays post this week, but we were on a very needed vacation in St. George, Utah.
If you are in need of a fun, warm, potentially inexpensive getaway might I suggest Southern Utah?? We had a great time with our family and everyone got along. Yeah!

Let me fill you in on where to go, and how to save and have a ton of fun.

  1. Dinosaur Museum at Johnson Farms. About 8 years ago Farmer Johnson was excavating his land, and a large sandstone fell out of his digger. When he got out to look at it, there were dinosaur fossils in the stone. They’ve now built a museum around the site and you can see, up close and personal, their findings. It’s small and good for kids who have short attention spans. The cost is $6 adults, $4 kids 4-11 and kids under 4 are free. For more info go to Groups of 10 or more get an admission discount.

  1. Silver Reef Ghost town in Leeds, Utah. This is about 15 miles north of St. George and is awesome. You can see some ruins of the old silver mine, circa 1866. There is a great museum there, with wonderful guides. The museum is open all day from 10-5, except Wednesdays. It’s free to visit, although donations are welcome. You can drive to the old cemeteries and to an overlook of the actual mine. Well worth it and one of our favorites. There is another ghost town nearby too called Grafton. We didn’t visit this one on this trip, but it may be worth a look. For information on both these locations visit

  1. Brigham Young’s Winter home and Historic downtown. There is a visitor’s center in the middle of town. The ladies there are great to give maps and tips to making the most of your visit. There’s a splash pad, art museum, shops, DUP museum, several Mormon leader’s old homes (many of which you can tour for free). Visit for more info about local tours.

  1. Snow Canyon State Park. This is one of four state parks around the area. This one is my favorite. Snow Canyon has several easy, short hikes to incredible sandstone cliffs and red dirt for miles. The kids can bring their sand toys and dig for the whole day. Restrooms and water are plentiful and there’s an amazing over look point you can’t miss. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. $6 per car, $3 for seniors. If you have a library card, you can check out a weekly State Park pass and visit for free. You won’t be disappointed. Our favorite pastime.

  1. Splash Pads a plenty. In Ivins, UT and Washington City, UT, both of which are close to St. George there are several splash pads. Visit for more specifics. There are also a few local pools, which charge admission, but if you aren’t staying in a place that has a pool it may be worth a look.

  1. St. George Temple and Tabernacle. Two different places and locations. There’s a nice visitors center at the temple and free tours. During June/July there is a great art exhibit too. It was a nice way to spend a Sunday. Open daily and free.

  1. Eating and Shopping. We did hit the Zion Outlet mall. It was kind of a dump. There wasn’t a lot of shopping that was unique, but it did have a Children’s Place and a Gymboree. There’s the Red Cliffs Mall, but I wouldn’t waste your time there, unless you have teens with time to burn.

We did love the Gringo Grill (open M-F from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) It has the world’s best carne asada ever! Rochelle and Carson Hunt own this little place and it’s worth the visit. Great food and not expensive.

We also enjoyed the Pizza Factory and their huge bread twists.

We went swimming and played with our cousins too. We were sad to leave, but so glad we came. Now back to reality….

Friday, June 17, 2011

Financial Freedom Friday

Debt sucks! I could leave the post there, but you know I won't. I have stuff to share, so read on.

The following is advice from from June 13, 2011. There are some great ideas to really maximize your money and make it work FOR you, instead of the us working for it, which is often the case. helps you track your investments and runs you through current trends to show how your investments work in real time. has a program that tracks your spending to see where it all goes. You have to record your cash spending, but it gives you a good idea of your budget spending. for those of us who are too shy to haggle with our cell phone and cable companies. This site offers the best deals that are available to help you cut your budget. free credit report and offers low interest rates on several financial needs. - helps you save money, develop a plan and there's an app for it. - do you forget about the "extras" you get with some memberships or credit cards? Well this site helps you use your miles that are often forgotten.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This post is from Melea at Thanks Melea!

KidsBowlFree.comParticipating bowling centers around the country will let kids play 2 Free games each and every day through the summer.
Each bowling center will have their own age limits and shoe rental information. Some will require a shoe rental purchase. However, the games are completely free!

Summer Movie Program for Kids at Cinemark
Participating Cinemark Theaters across the country will be offering a Summer Movie Pass. Each movie is rated G or PG and is suitable for kids of all ages. You can pay $1.00 for each show you attend. Or, purchase a Pass (with 10 Movies) for only $5.00! That’s $.50 a movie! Check to see which movies your Theater is showing and the dates and times.

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program-
Barnes and Noble is offering a Fun Summer Reading Program for ages 6- 12. All they have to do is read 8 books and Barnes and Noble will give them a book for Free! Read all of the details here.

Salt Lake Bees Discounts
Purchase any Kraft Singles Item and bring your wrapper to any Minor League Baseball Game to get BOGO Tickets on Tuesday Nights!! Purchase one regular priced ticket and get the 2nd free with your wrapper.
This offer is good until Sept 6th. So you can do it again and again to have fun Family Nights.

Free Utah Symphony Concert SeriesThis summer the Utah Symphony is offering FREE concerts! You can go to the Utah Symphony’s website for more details and information. Tickets are free, but it is recommended that for the concert at Abravanel Hall you call to reserve your tickets.
Here are the dates and locations listed:
June 27th | 8:00 pm | Taylorsville Valley Regional Park
July 6th | 7:30 pm | Abravanel Hall
July 11th | 8:30 pm | West Valley
July 13th | 8:00 pm | Sandy Amphitheater

FREE Family Friendly Outdoor Movies
Many parks throughout Utah offer Free Family Friendly Movies during the Summer! Some parks even give out Free Popcorn!
All you have to do is bring a blanket or chairs and show up. They do the rest for you! Shows start around 9:00pm. But, they have these types of movies all over the Salt Lake Valley.
Here are the schedules:
Salt Lake Area
Cottonwood Heights
State Capitol
….your own city could be doing something as well. So check to see!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thoughts for Tuesday

My Mom gave me a copy of an email she'd received and I loved it. I thought I'd pass on some advice for "A Great Recipe."

* When you wake in the morning complete this statement: "I am thankful for ______."
* Try to make 3 people smile each day.
* NO one is in charge of your happiness, except you.
* What other people think of you is none of your business.
* Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
* Forgive everyone for everything.
* Frame every so-called disaster in these words: "In five years will this matter?"

I think in our world it's really easy to lose track of who you are and who you are not. I want my family to have a good sense of self before they reach the teen years so they can stay consistent.

There are many others, but I think this is a good start in trying to see my glass half-full all the time. I find that sometimes in the craziness of life I lose perspective. I want my kids to be well balanced, kind, good people. I don't really care what they do when they grow up, but I sure as heck care about who they are when they grow up. I want them to know their core values before they reach the teen years. It took me a few years to really know who I am, and who I am not.

Lastly, "Eat breakfast like a King; each lunch like a prince; eat dinner like a poor college student with a maxed out credit card."

Good Food for Thought!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meal Time Monday

We've got some doozies this week!

Orange Chicken and Brown Rice
1 c. water
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. PLUS 1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
juice of same orange you zested
red pepper flakes, optional

Brown your chicken (or you can deep fry it) and then pour this sauce, while hot, over the cooked chicken. Serve with brown rice and veggies. Everyone eats this!!

Chicken Satay

Pasta Bar
I make a variety of pasta shapes and sauces and meats so each person can make their own blend and not complain about what's for dinner.

Sloppy Fred's (Or Joe's) and Napoleon Tots

Cordon Blue, Steamed Cheesy Veggies and Mashed Potatoes

Mealtime Question for the week: If you could only eat one thing, and only that thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Or If you could do one thing over in your life, what would it be????
And FYI if you've been following our posts, our homemade movie was an experience. I've never heard my 4 year old practice her "singing voice" in the bathroom because "it has better acoustics."  And my in charge daughter was very in charge and charming at the same time. She actually has some vision and knew what she wanted. She convinced her 4 year old sister to play the part of "Doggy" the dog and she did! I can't get her to eat her veggies, or stop talking in the car, or put her shoes away, but she played a dog for Syd's theatrical debut. Go figure.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First Week Review

I have to say I was kind of looking forward to the first week of summer vacation, now I am glad it's over. I think it's hard to adjust to a new routine, even if it's just slightly new. We had a fun week. Each night we sat around the dinner table talking about each person's awesome thing of the day (remember that post??? If not, go back to the "Awesome Things" post under Family Time). My only complaint, and am I human so I will admit this, was that two children had a hard time working through things when they didn't turn out exactly as planned. I won't out the children, I will just say, there were terse words and stares from all involved parties until the little ones realized how trivial their gripes were. Nothing like the threat of cleaning all 2700 square feet of wall space in our house can turn one's frown upside down!

We visited the farm, a splash pad, and library. We had an amazing race treasure hunt and watched a few movies. We slept out under the stars. The kids all helped to make Reese's treats and 2 dinners. We had math fun--yep, it can be fun, and science fun--that's only fun if you've actually won the Science Fair. We had a couple of yummy dinners and one "learning experiment" courtesy of a daughter who forgot to put on her listening ears and follow directions. Let's just say, cream of mushroom soup curdles in boiling pasta water.

The girls and I had some one-on-one time to talk about all the growing up things they are about to face. I can't believe they're old enough to have that discussion, but I found a great book that really helped, without embarrassing any of us. So if you've got girls get this book...
Product Details"The Care and Keeping of You" by Valorie Schaefer and Norm Bendell. There's a bunch of books in the American Girl series about growing up, puberty, feelings, etc. All come highly recommended.

Now we are gearing up for next week and I am really thankful the kids Christmas Gift certificates are such a hit. We are still enjoying Christmas in June. If you missed out on this idea, it's basically something I came up with a few years ago. I make gift certificates for each kid, specific to his/her interests and needs. The kids can choose to spend their money where and when they like. The certificates are good for lots of different things like a movie, time with mom, time with dad, book store trip, ice cream shop trip, etc. This way we are spending time together and really connecting, rather than emphasizing the materialism that often surrounds Christmas.

Anyway, next week includes sewing lessons for the twins (thanks Gma MG), making a movie written by Sydney, baking of carrot cake--I need to use up my carrots from last harvest and this is the only way I can hide them where everyone eats them, swimming, sun and much fun with cousins and grandparents.
And many happy memories--

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Date Night Ideas

Andy and I have had a regular date night for a year, every Monday night. We watch the Bachelor, not because we really care who get chosen, but we are constantly reminded by watching this show that getting divorced isn't an option for us. Going back on the dating scene isn't even appealing. He thinks the show is totally scripted, and it probably is in part. I think that most people need to base their relationships in actual reality, not reality TV. Reality TV is an oxymoron. Anyway, it's a good time to laugh and roll our eyes are realize that our marriage isn't too bad and most times we are happy. Since it is a date night, he usually brings home a treat and a coke and we banish the children to play outside or watch a show. It's a piece of heaven at home. And I know I am really lucky to have a guy indulge in "chick flicks."

Last week we discovered an even more exciting thing to do. RUGBY. Ok, we don't play, but we love to watch it. We watched Rugby Sevens most of last weekend and screamed and laughed and tried to figure out the rules as we went along. Andy served his mission in England, so Rugby was familiar to him, but I've never been exposed. It was so awesome!! And it gave me a craving for football. So happy we have secured our tickets this year and can't wait to feel the pulsating sensation of anticipation at the RES this year.

They aren't expensive date ideas, but they are fun and new experiences. So I guess the advice for the day is finding something new to enjoy with your someone special and make new memories.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pirates of Riverton

If you know me or my kids, you know the older ones are OBSESSED with Pirates of the Caribbean. They dress up like pirates, have tons of pirate booty from various events, posters, hats, trinkets, you name it they have it. Or they had it once and lost it. Anyway I took the girls to see Pirates 4 last week and it was awesome. So to follow up on that fun today we had a pirate treasure hunt. Here's the directions you can copy and adapt to your needs and own hiding places. This is similar to the game we played for the twins' birthday--complete with Road Block challenges and mystical clues.

I've added in parenthesis where I hid the clues, but you can choose your location if it doesn't match up with mine. Where it says Road Block Challenge that is the clue you hide instead of the next numbered clue. Then when the task is completed, hand them the matching clue.

Happy Hunting!

Welcome to “Race for Treasure.” 
You have each been chosen to go on a magnificent treasure hunt because of your great seeking abilities. Like pirates and hunters of old you have all been given the gifts of keen eyes, sharp senses and a good sense of direction. Along the way there will be 10 clues to find. This hunt is not without danger. Pirates and hunters have been protecting the treasures you are seeking for thousands of years. There will be challenge tasks along the way. This is the pirate’s way of keeping you from finding their loot. Each treasure hunter on your team MUST complete the challenge before anyone can move on. Best of luck on finding a great treasure and having fun while you work together to find it! —The Great Pirate Lords
Clue #1
You will find clue #2 in the place you hate to clean up every night after dinner. (Dishwasher)

Clue #2

Before you get clue 2 each treasure hunter must do one trick on the tramp and be passed off by the pirate master mom.

Clue #2
Clue 3 is by a large tree. (Big oak outside our house)

Clue #3
You will find clue 4 in a place opposite of the front door. (Hidden under a rock on the curb)

Clue #4

Before you get your next clue each person on the team must trace each other’s shadows with chalk and be passed by Pirate Mom.

Clue #4
Clue 5 is somewhere we keep things alive all summer long, to eat all winter long. (Garden)

Clue #5

Each treasure hunter must draw a map using chalk on the sidewalk. Each map must be different than anyone else’s and use at least 2 colors of chalk. Don’t forget your X to mark a spot on your map. Remember, everyone must complete a drawing before play can move on.

Clue #5
Clue #6 is in a quiet place you can rest your head. It is inside, but it’s not your bed. (Under a pillow on the couch)

Clue #6
You’ll find clue 7 where the treasure hunters would watch for deliveries from mailmen, well if they had had mailmen. (mailbox)

Clue #7
Clue #8 is located in a jar of sweets. (Cookie jar)

Clue #8
Each treasure hunter must find some object that starts with either P or C or T and bring it back to Pirate Mom.

Clue #8
You’ll find clue 9 in a book for cooks. Arrggh, boil me up somethin’ fierce matey! (Cookbook)

Clue #9

Before you get your last clue you must complete this challenge. You must reassemble this clue to find out what to do. (Hand them the puzzle pieces in an envelope)

Clue #10 **GOOGLE for a picture of a treasure map and glue this clue to it. Then cut it into a puzzle.

Your treasure lies buried deep in the depths of Davy Jones’ locker. Search for the treasure in a place where treasure hunters may relax after a hard day and put their feet up, but only if the Pirate Mom doesn’t catch them. They may even see themselves in a reflection on the glass like box—The Pirate Lords

Clue #10 (This is a copy just in case they can't figure out the puzzle. Hand them this clue.)

Your treasure lies buried deep in the depths of Davy Jones’ locker. Search for the treasure in a place where treasure hunters may relax after a hard day and put their feet up, but only if the Pirate Mom doesn’t catch them. They may even see themselves in a reflection on the glass like box—The Pirate Lords

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June Scrapbook Post

1. What am I eating for dinner today? Stroganoff
2. Who was the last person I talked to on the phone? Julie, a buyer from KSL
3. What color did I wear today? Lime green
4. What was the last good thing I read? The Witch of Blackbird Pond for my new book club
5. What's one goal I have accomplished this week? Grocery Shopping w/ kids
6. What's one thing I need to work on? Planning Field trip Fridays
7. Today's best thought? I get a fountain Diet Coke in 2 hours
8. One word to sum up today is? Relaxed
9. One worry or concern? Medical cost/supplies
10. Favorite thing I did this week? Kick off to summer and lots of family fun time

Monday, June 6, 2011

Meal Time Monday

Really, it's that time again. Sometimes it just sneaks up on me. Kinda like when I'm blogging about dinner instead of making dinner....where does time go?

Here's a list of What's For Dinner this Week at the Larsen Cafe and Bakery

Fish tacos

Shrimp Alfredo

Stuffing Meatloaf
2 lb. hamburger
1 box Stove Top Stuffing
1 egg, beaten
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 c. cranberry sauce
1/4 c. bbq sauce

Mix all ingredients together and form loaf. Place in greased 9 x 9 Pyrex pan (or regular bread loaf pan) and bake 350 deg. for 45-60 min.
If desired make a sauce to go over the cooked loaf from the following:

Leftover cranberry sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcester
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 5 min, stirring frequently. Pour over individual slices of meatloaf or on top of whole loaf, as desired.

Chili Dogs and Oven Fries
Oven Fries
6-8 large potatoes cut into strips or wedges
1 Tbsp. olive oil
chili pepper, black pepper, cumin, salt, garlic, onion powder
Mix the amount of spices you like together. Cut the potatoes, coat with olive oil, add spices and stir. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.


1 package extra wide egg noodle pasta
1/2 lb. ground Beef (add salt, pepper, onion salt to taste)
1/2 onion chopped
1 small can mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream (I use fat free) 
splash of Worcestershire sauce 
splash of milk or water (optional)

Boil water and start cooking pasta.  Brown ground beef with chopped onion and mushrooms in a deep fry pan.  Add mushroom soup, sour cream, and Worcestershire sauce until warm.  You can add water or milk if you want to thin out the sauce.

Since it's summer I figured a few desserts won't likely kill anyone, and plus since the kids are home Thursdays are our cooking and baking days, so we need to keep them busy. This week's dessert is....

Reese's Bars

2 cubes     butter
1 c.          peanut butter


1 ¾ c      graham cracker crumbs
2 c           powdered sugar

MIX EVERYTHING TOGETHER and push into Pyrex dish (9x9 for thicker cookies or 9 x 13 for thinner ones); Chill 20 minutes

Melt 2 cups chocolate chips and spread over mixture. Freeze 1 hr, until firm.
This recipe is from my friend Brittany Macleod and it's awesome! Thank you for sharing it Britt.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Button

I did it again. I changed my button because the previous image may have been copyrighted, even though under Google it came up free. Long story short, I created my own image. I am still working on sizing it bigger, but it's all completely mine, so no more worries about infringement.

So link my blog to your blog or pass my button or blog name onto your friends so they can have access to my sometimes helpful, usually sarcastic, sometimes crazy, always blessed ideas, recipes, and thoughts.

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fantastic Food Friday

I made this for dinner last night and it was a huge hit. Everyone was so quiet--I've never heard silence at my dinner table. Even the baby was happy!

Grandma Ruth and Jackson's Macaroni and Cheese

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 c. chicken stock
3/4 c. 2% or whole milk
1 c. shredded cheese--we like sharp and cheddar, but use whatever combination you like
1 lb. pasta, cooked

While pasta is cooking, make a roux with the butter and flour. Add chicken stock and milk and whisk until gravy consistency. Add the cheese 1/2 c. at a time until sauce is thick. Drain the noodles and add the sauce while hot. Serve immediately and watch dinner disappear like magic.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The "Denny" Cupcake

This recipe is dedicated to my Dad, who says normal words in funny ways (Cinderfella), bakes the best sugar cookies ever, eats food in weird combinations (peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and mayo sandwiches) and always has a story to tell the grand kids.

I am a loser and forgot to call him on his actual birthday this year, so just for you Dad...


The "Denny" Cupcake

1 box German Chocolate Cake mix (this is his fave cake flavor, but regular chocolate would work too)
1 c. mayonnaise (low fat works)
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix it all together and fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake at 350 deg for 15-18 minutes until the cake springs back.

Frost with cream cheese frosting or this recipe from Wendy Paul

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 c. peanut butter, smooth or creamy
1/2 c. butter at room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine peanut butter and butter in large bowl, mix until fluffy. Stop mixer. Add sugar, $ Tbsp. milk and vanilla. Start slowly, gradually increasing speed. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add 1 Tbsp. of milk if too thick.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Money Saving Miércoles (Wednesday for you gringos)

I had to resort to 9th grade Spanish class to get my alliteration to work today. I am such a word nerd!

Anyway, here it is, the end of the school year. Yeah. I am excited to have my kids around for at least a few weeks. We have some fun stuff planned.

Yesterday I scored big at We are going to Cherry Hill this year and I got 5 Ultimate Fun Passes for $20 each, free shipping. These are normally $41 each. They include an all day splash pass, token to the batting cages, locker rental, mini golf, rock climbing wall and hot dog and drink. I saved $200 and spent $73. Not only did I have a 30% discount code with free shipping, I had a credit to apply from a previous deal. Check them out for money saving gift certificates for summer fun, food and more--and please use my email that I referred you (

So since I had money to burn (not really, but the justification works) I headed over to where they are having a 25% off everything sale with the code ONSAVE25 and scored the older ones new suits and rashgaurds for $4-$6 each. Hopefully it will be a nice surprise for them and a way to bribe them to be really good on the long car trip down south later this month.

The kids brought home a slew of coupons from the Ken Garff reading program. We'll be dining on the cheap for the next several weeks thanks to this great program. My kids are readers and actually love the library--they've been going weekly since they were 18 mos. old. This is a fun reward--even though you aren't supposed to reward kids with food, at least according to some "doctors." However, I choose to think of these kinds of outings as "family bonding time" where Mom "isn't stressed out" and the kids can play and socialize with other kids. Or something like that?! Who cares, it's free and fun. What more do you want? If you didn't get these from school head to to search for deals in your area.

Let the pools open, splash pads release their water and bring on the sunshine! It's time to make some summer memories. Who's with me??