Thursday, November 18, 2010

Matt's 26th Birthday!

Matt had to work on his birthday, so we celebrated with dinner and dessert the next day. I made him pot roast & potatoes...our house smelled SO good when we came home from church! Matt gives this meal a 100 out of 10. (If you haven't noticed, he loves everything I if you have a really picky eater, don't go by Matt's opinion!) I took pictures of it, but didn't have the memory card in the camera. Derrrr. 
This recipe is from The Essential Mormon Cookbook.

Savory Pot Roast with Potatoes and Gravy

6-8 large baking potatoes
1 (4-5 lb.) pot roast
1 (1 oz.) package dry onion soup mix
1 (26 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

Scrub potatoes and wrap in heavy foil. Place on baking sheet and place in oven at same time and temperature as pot roast. 
Place roast on large piece of tin foil. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over top of roast. Spoon mushroom soup on top. For more gravy, add additional mushroom soup. Wrap tightly in foil, folding edges securely. Place in roasting pan and bake at 350 degrees for 4 hours. Unwrap roast carefully, transferring meat and gravy to serving platter. Slice thinly. Serve with baked potatoes. Serves 6-8.

Then we followed last year's tradition and I made a Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mousse Pie! Recipe found here. This year I swirled the chocolate through the peanut butter mousse and we liked it more. Also, I use a store-bought graham cracker crust because it's easier. This isn't your normal, heavy, chalky peanut butter chocolate pie. It's a light, fluffy, mousse-y although RICH pie! Try it, you'll like it. Topped with homemade whipped cream it's the best!
Happy Birthday Love!
Ada enjoying some graham crackers of her own.
 She loved when we lit the candles and sang to Poppa! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ten Tips for the Holidays

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is almost here? It's only two weeks away. Then comes Christmas! It can be a crazy, hectic time of year. Here are some of my tips to help you get through in one piece and enjoy yourself more.

1. Make lists. I am such a list lover. Lists help me lay out what needs to be done, prioritize everything, and get to checking and crossing tasks off. You will feel so accomplished when you get everything done!
2. Plan ahead. A well-planned event is a successful one. If you have your plans laid ahead of time, nobody will be surprised and meltdowns will be avoided. Try to take care of things that can be done early on to avoid scrambling at the last minute (shopping, gift wrapping, freezing items, etc).
3. Learn to say NO. As much as you would like to, you cannot do it all. In the season of giving, it is very tempting to sign up to bring something to every event and volunteer to be on every committee. But if you stretch yourself too thin, you won't be able to do a good job on everything. Nobody wants a frazzled momma, so just know that it is okay to say no!
4. Delegate. Going along with #3, ask friends and family to help you out if you're hosting or planning. Enlist their help; they will appreciate being involved, and you will appreciate the helping hands!
5. Simplify. Less really is more when it comes to the holidays. Why waste your time on grand, over-the-top decor when simple, streamlined, festive decorations will create the mood?  

Use sites like to help make sending your holiday cards easier. Keep it simple and focus on the people around you!
6. Scale back. The past few Christmases, we have had, "small Christmases". And do you know what? They have been BETTER than the big ones! By picking out one or two inexpensive, thoughtful gifts, we are able to get away from the materialism and commercialism that has engulfed Christmas and focus on its true meaning, the birth of our Savior.
7. Make some time for you. Before you know it, every weekend has plans and you are being pulled in a million directions. Make sure to take a few minutes for yourself. Go out on a date, hang out with the girls, or take a jog solo. A happy and rejuvenated you will be able to enjoy the holidays much more than a stressed-out you.
8. Create or continue traditions. I am a stickler for tradition. My mom would do something one year, and the next I would insist that it was tradition and we had to do it again! By carrying on traditions like picking out a Christmas tree as a family, watching your favorite Christmas movies, baking special goodies, and attending church programs, you will create memories and bonds that carry through the generations. Who knows, your children may even ask you to do something you did last year!
9. Take pictures. This is one that I need to work on. (Surprising, right?!) I love taking pictures, but on the actual holidays, I only end up taking one or this one from last year. I look drunk. 
 Especially since having a baby, I am so busy making sure I know where she is and taking care of her that the camera stays in the diaper bag. Take the time to stop what you're doing and get the camera out. Among the eating, talking, visiting, game playing, and will capture some of your happiest times.
10. Be grateful. Thanksgiving is about gratitude, and we should try to keep that with us throughout the holiday season (and entire year!). Don't let the ads lead you to believe that you need this or can't be happy without that. Be grateful for what you do have and realize that it is probably more than what many others have. We are all so blessed!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a $75 Tiny Prints gift certificate! For more information on how you can participate, click here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

White Chicken Chili

I saw this recipe on Down Home with the Neelys. Do you think they're always like that? They are kind of entertaining to watch, but annoying if you're not in the mood. It made me think that I want a cooking show with my husband. It would probably be a disaster, though, because Matt tends to get majorly awkward in front of cameras. 
We made this Sunday night for dinner, and it was delicious! Matt is my sous chef and chops my onions because they make my blue eyes cry. This soup was perfect on a cold, rainy day and packs more of a punch with the jalapenos and poblano (or pasilla as I found at the store) peppers.  Don't worry though, I'm a mild girl and I still loved it. 

2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced 
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 limes, juiced, plus lime wedges, for serving
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • Tortilla chips, coarsely crushed, for topping

Drain and rinse the canned white beans. In a medium bowl, mash half of the beans with a potato masher until chunky. Reserve the beans until needed.
Add the canola oil to a large Dutch oven and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt, and pepper, to taste. Add the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and continue to saute for 1 more minute to toast the spices. Stir in the chicken stock, and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes.

After 20 minutes of simmering, taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken and cilantro and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes. Serve the chili in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and lime wedges.
Husband approved :) 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Notes About Santa Cruz III

Every night, around 9 PM, there is a silly horn outside of our back patio. It's like a little song, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo (can you hear it?). I have no idea who does it, or where it is coming from! Tonight, I walked out and turned on the light and looked around. Nothing. When I went back inside, the horn went three more times. I'll be staying inside from now on.
We went to a restaurant that we heard had incredible milkshakes. I am a very decisive person, and it was taking me FOREVER to pick something to eat! Matt was having the same problem. When our server came over, he asked if we had any questions. I said, "What is fakin' bacon, and why does chicken have quotations around it?!" He explained to us that everything on the menu was vegan or vegetarian, but not to be discouraged! It all tastes great, give it a chance, yadda yadda yadda. I was in the mood for a burger, not a cashew patty. So I ended up ordering a fried egg sandwich with gouda that was okay. The shakes were good, but I don't think we'll be going back there anytime soon.
THIS GUY was at the farmer's market last night! Oh my goodness. This was a moment where Matt & I just looked at each other and died laughing.
Check out the little girl in the hat watching them!
He was holding this girl's hands and touching her forehead, maybe he was transferring happy energy to her? I have no idea. It was too hilarious not to take a picture (or two) of. I don't even think he noticed! Dreadlocks, beard, no shirt, low-rise purple velour pants....oh dear. 
Also, driving in this town is BANANAS. There are so many pedestrians and cyclists that you have to be on the constant lookout for them, they really sneak up on you! I have had not one, not two, but THREE bums jump out in front of my car. Thanks for the heart attack guys. Not only do you have to worry about these hazards, but the roads themselves are insane! I remembered that from coming up here on Spring Break when I had my permit. My mom had me drive! haha There are one-way roads, unexplainable forks, blind hills you come up and have to sharply turn to avoid hitting a telephone pole, an intersection you come through and suddenly face oncoming traffic while the road shifts to the right...I could go on and on! Needless to say, I drive VERY slowly and cautiously around this town. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Cards

I've been looking at Shutterfly's Christmas cards for this year, there are SO many cute ones to choose from! 
I went through all of them and picked out my favorites. 

I like the design of this card, it has a classic feel to it.
This is the one I think we are going to go with this year, a vintage French look.
If you take a ton of pictures, like me, a collage card works well to show off lots of pictures of your family. They are easy to upload to Shutterfly's site.
This one is my close number two. I love the clean, modern feel of it. It reminds me of my blog - white and simply classic with lots of color! 
I love the color combination and old print feel of this card. You can change the text where it says happy holiday to Merry Christmas if you want, I like to wish a Merry Christmas because that is really what the season is all about - the birth of Christ! 
If they had this card last year, I would have used it in a heartbeat for Ada's newborn pictures. It is elegant, sweet, and simple.
Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ada is 11 Months Old!

She is growing up so fast & walking all over with her arms out for balance. It's so weird to look over and see her toddling around! She is also saying, "Yay" & "Hi"
Here she is after church, she loves to go over to the TV and change the channel. She knows exactly what she's doing! 
She loves to eat & has eaten everything I've given her so far. I hope she continues to be a good eater, it sure makes my life easier! 
She has her two bottom teeth, top right fang, and the top left fang just broke through yesterday. She's a little vampire!
Still a wonderful sleeper. 
Loves to snuggle! When she's tired she'll walk up to me and put her arms around me and put her head on my shoulder. She also loves to nap while holding my hands, nuzzled up against me. 
Gives kisses & hugs to everyone, especially older boys. Ha! 
Loves swinging at the park & going down the slide (with Momma's help of course)

Story about the park: 
I overheard a mom telling her 2-year-old, "It's fun to play with other kids! Go play with them!" As her daughter, Lilly, clung to her side. Ada immediately left my side to go to Lilly. She leaned over and gave her a hug! It was so cute. Lilly said Ada's name and they were friends holding hands. I was telling the mom how it is probably intimidating to go onto a playground full of kids that you don't know, and she said, pointing to Ada, "Not for her!" What can I say, she's a social one. No clue where she gets it...Matt & I are painfully shy. If you're not picking up on my sarcasm, read that last sentence again - dripping with it :) 

I can't believe that in one month we will have a 1-year-old! It's flown by. We are loving her more and more every day. 


Ada's first Halloween was a fun one! We went to a pumpkin patch right on Highway 1 to get our pumpkin. It is absolutely gorgeous!
Ada discovering pumpkins, she would say, "Puh-puh-puh."
Looking out over the pumpkins to the Pacific!
This picture cracks me up, Ada looks like she weighs 300 lbs. and I'm trying to lug her around!
Momma and her little flower

We carved our pumpkin to match Ada's 3 teeth in the same places :) 
Matt had to work the night of our ward's trunk-or-treat, so Ada and I went together anyway. There were some great costumes!
We have such an awesome ward, they were so sweet and helped out with Ada so I could eat and let me hang out at their trunks. Made me feel good :)
(I was a gardener with the flower I grew...took some explaining since I kinda look like a cowgirl)
When I was leaving the house, I ran into my neighbor and we talked for a while. She said multiple times how pretty I looked, and I thought, "Hmm...I'm wearing one of Matt's shirts and braided my hair, nothing special!" Then I realized that every time she sees me, I don't have make-up on! HA! I'm always coming home from running, the pool, or getting the mail and I don't have make-up on. I thought that was funny :)
Ada finally fits into the shoes Sean got her for Christmas, they look so cute on her!
On Sunday evening, we went over to the Kruger's house and hung out with a bunch of families from the ward. It was so nice to get to know some more of the women who are in Primary & Young Women that I don't see in Relief Society. It is so nice to talk with others who have been in your position and can give you encouragement! Thanks ladies!
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