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Friday, November 29, 2013

Crafty Christmas 2013

 We had such a fun weekend! We got a new Christmas tree, and it's pre-lit! What a time saver! I had so much extra time, that I baked 5 dozen Salt Dough Ornaments and we spent the day painting them and decorating our tree!

Katie's Salt Dough Ornament Recipe
yield 3 dozen small and 2 dozen large ornaments, or 4 dozen med-large ornaments

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie sheet
  • Toothpicks or Chopstick
  • Cookie cutters
  • Craft paints
  • Glitter
  • Ribbon or twine 


Preheat the oven to 250° F.

Mix together, salt, flour, and water until dough is formed. I put it in my Kitchen Aid and use the dough hook to mix. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. Do not add too much flour, as this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4” thick with a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour. Use cookie cutters to cut out your ornaments. Use a toothpick or chopstick  to make a hole toward the top of the ornament.

Place all shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and place into the preheated oven.Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Decorate with paint/glitter as desired. Thread ribbon through hole and tie in a knot.Hang on your tree or tie onto a package.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy (Food) Thanksgiving Day

Every year that we have Thanksgiving with my in-laws we have the same food assignments. It's fine, I'm not complaining, just getting a little bored bringing salad year after year. So this year my salad assignment has been recreated, replated and rethought to something so incredibly beautiful and fun, I am sure the Executives at The Food Network will be begging me to come and share my inspiration. At the very least, my kids will eat it.

Personal layered salads--brilliant right? Now your yams, stuffing and gravies won't run into your lettuce and get it all mushy. You have room on your plate for more carbs--and since calories don't count today, that's a great thing.

Is it more fun to eat food if it looks fun?

Maybe...just maybe, our family will be so overcome with my brilliance they won't realize they're eating something healthy.

Happy Food Day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Service Project --House of Hope Update

I have such amazing family, friends and neighbors. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to those of you who've "adopted" a child from our tree for Christmas. Thank you to those of you who've donated diapers, baby items, women's items and other things. I've been getting lots of questions about what else we need...and the answer is pretty much everything, and the need is constant.

Last year the House of Hope served 360 people including 128 children. We are a small agency and rely on community support as these women work on overcoming substance abuse. We have our share of success, but as you can imagine overcoming addictions is hard and takes a lot of time. That being said, every donation really does help families step back into the community.  Thank you for being part of that positive change.

For those of you who want to help the following are some lists of our needs. We are re-doing our website, so next week you can visit House of Hope online and find about more about what we do, and what we need.

Christmas Wish List-Provo
Baby Needs List
The Hope Store
12 Days of Christmas (SLC)

We accept donations all year, but if you want to help for this Christmas we need items by December 16. You can deliver them to our offices, 857 E. 200 So. or to me.

Thank you for being part of this amazing organization!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quick Meal Idea

As most of you know, I work for BzzAgent, a great company that offers product testing to real people, for real, honest reviews.

My latest endeavor is for Kroger Skillet Meals. If you'd like and easy and quick meal for the busy holiday season, check them out at Smith's. I've got a few more coupons to share to save you money.

If you aren't into frozen meals, here's a few more quick meal plans for this upcoming season.


1- Quick Fixes from
2- Six Sisters Stuff
3- Rachel Ray's Baked Ziti (this is seriously an easy, cheap crowd pleaser!)
4-Olive Garden Soup from Chef Pablo (make this in a crockpot, and BAM! dinner's done!)
5- Quick ideas just for kids (great training ground to get your little chef going)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Service Project

The Holiday Season is here! Every year our family does a service project. This year is special because I just started working with the House of Hope. They provide treatment and recovery services to women and children working to overcome substance abuse. It's a great organization and there is lots going on--I am happy to be busy, even if right now I feel too busy.

There are lots of great organizations that need help all year long, and House of Hope is one great organization that needs help this year. We are looking for gifts --new and unwrapped--for our women and children who are in our treatment programs. Also all year long we are in need of baby items--we serve many pregnant women and women with young children (ages 0-8) all year long, so items like diapers and wipes are always needed.

Click Here for a list of baby items. Contact Lisa Heaton ( to find out more about the Christmas needs.

Even if you don't help the House of Hope, I hope you will find some way to serve this holiday season--volunteer, raise money, or donate items. It's a great way to keep the Christmas Spirit all year long!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thanskgiving Craft

I had some bare walls and some rare spare time. I created these awesome monogram plates and created some fun new decor for the holidays.

 These are vinyl letters on a silver plated party plate--the plates are disposable and are very light weight. The rest is a bit of hot glue, a leaf garland and some floral beads. I attached a ribbon hanger to the back and they are hung on my cupboards with command hooks. 

I also made an "E" and "T" plate --as if anyone needs to be told to eat here. In either case the halls and walls are decked out with color, glitter and shiny things that make our house a home. 

Happy Holiday Crafting!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy November

Hello All...Long time no posting. I know you've been going through withdrawal. So here's the thing...I got a job. A real job, in the city, doing work that (hopefully) will make a difference to many. Over the last year we've experienced many expensive experiences--none of them good. From broken household appliances (3 of them, and not the kind of appliances you can stick in a Walmart cart), a new truck transmission, tires, U joints (the hubs LOVES this truck--it's like his non-human BFF) and a whole bunch of other broken stuff that meant our Christmas trip to California wasn't going to happen.

We'd already told the kids we were going (note to self: keep your mouth shut when big things come up until you are sure!) and even plan to have a small Christmas to save money to go. I did a few things from home to earn $$ and it seems just as I was getting on top of things, something else would happen.

So kind of on a dare (I triple dog dared myself) I began "just looking to see what would happen" if I got a job. That thought is the most dangerous thought I have. I have literally said "let's see what happens" 7 other times in my life. The first time I said it, we bought a house. The second time, am I am not joking, we got pregnant with twins. The last time I said it....we got our baby. I have some employable skills, and I even have a big fat college degree, so I was hoping someone was looking for something that would be a win-win situation for all.

I also knew that going back to work full time was not an option. A month ago one of my favorite places in the world, The Conservation Park, was hiring a Development Director--dream job, but full time. And even though we are facing challenges, going to work full time was more time than I was willing to spend away from home. I know there's no perfect balance, and some days Mom Guilt will rule. But I am also a problem solver. I was convinced I could work a bit, but still be home when the kids got home.

Long story short some very amazing women at an amazing place called House of Hope hired me to do grant writing. The hours are flexible and it's a job I know how to do, and even have loads of experience doing. It's downtown ---which for me is great because I miss the city. I love the city, and if it were up to me, we'd live in a large city. But life is about compromise--so I get the city part of the week, and my family every day, and hopefully once we've all adjusted, happiness will exist.

Since it's Thanksgiving time I felt like I needed to put this out thankful for unexpected change. I had no idea I would actually get this job--I had some pretty specific job needs and didn't think anyone would be able to fill them. I am thankful for awesome parents who are helping with my kids and a husband who has a flexible schedule so our baby won't be out a mom--she gains a dad, grandpa and grandma. I don't think I "fell" into this job, I am pretty sure there are people there I need to meet, and need to help. And like with anything else, this opportunity will likely help me, beyond just paying bills--and that is where the real blessings are.