Friday, April 27, 2012

Mexican lasagna

Didn't I tell you things would change again? Yep, Hasn't even been 48 hours and I've thought of at least ten more things to change on the forever house.
Today I spent the day helping my mom go through her closet and purge a bunch of stuff. That was a win win... She gained more space and gave away things she no longer needed, and I got some new outfits and some clothing pieces to re-purpose into some kiddos clothing.

Any how, I am fiercely loyal to my moms recipe for chicken enchiladas, But I have to say, these were a close second! Okay, maybe they were tied... But they are two totally different tastes. Very yummy! Try them!

Verde Chicken Mexican Lasagna {By}
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups green salsa
1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (plus additional for garnishing)
12 soft taco size flour tortillas
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix chicken, sour cream, black beans, salsa, corn, cilantro and spices in a large bowl. Taste and adjust
seasonings to your preference. Cut tortillas in half with kitchen shears.
In a 9×13 dish, scoop 1/3 of the chicken mixture into bottom of pan. Spread evenly. Place one layer of cut tortillas (about 4 tortillas) on chicken mixture to cover. Top with 1/3 of the amount of shredded cheese. Repeat with chicken mixture, tortillas, shredded cheese two more times. There should be three layers total.
Bake in oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and casserole is warmed through. Serve with sour cream and additional chopped cilantro. {You can't have too much cilantro on these!!}

I used corn tortillas because that's what I had. And I also used green enchilada sauce instead of green salsa because that's what I had on hand.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This house is making me insane...

I keep telling myself... It will all be worth it...

 This is my kitchen... I'm in love... 
However.... This place makes me want to choke someone....

Building a house is stressful.... And I will never do it again... They will have to drag my cold dead body out of this house....
We were at the design center yesterday. {Yeah, The "fun part".... little did I know.}
I've never been through so many emotions in such a small amount of time. I went from excitement and elation.... to overwhelmed.... To wanting to punch someone.
Mike was slightly boggled as to how I could go from knowing exactly what I wanted to asking opinions and asking for advice. Let me first say that I am Extremely controlling and particular about how I want this house. {I'm going to live and die in it after all!} I have every detail planned. Just reference "The Binder." The problem I ran into yesterday is that once you get into the design center, The price goes up... with every choice you make... And Michael will NOT budge on price.
AND, You only get the choices that they have! GRRRRR.... Well, I wasn't okay with that... {Has this guy {The builder} not met me? Doesn't he know that I get what I want?} We went over bathroom vanities granite and tile about a bazillion times and I hated them every time! I was almost to the point of tears. I HATED HATED HATED it. I finally found a combination that I could live with (Did not love) but to just stain the builder grade crap cabinet they wanted $400 to stain EACH cabinet! Plus $1,000 for granite counters on each vanity! Plus the oil rubbed bronze faucets were more $$$ on top of that! I CAN BUY A GORGEOUS NEW VANITY WITH EVERYTHING INCLUDED $300 AT COSTCO!!!!

UGLY... Not what I want.

So, We are now having to put in cheap pedestal sinks at no additional cost, and having to tear them out and put the vanities we want in after we close. But doing it that way, It's cheaper, And we get what we {I} want. Michael could care less. He just wants to make me happy, and for me to have what I want. Yes it's more hassle, but I don't feel like I'm getting ripped off that way. The only down side is that we have to pay for it out of pocket.
And we are also going to have to replace the door levers, We were being charged $25 a piece, and I found them online {The exact same oil rubbed bronze ones} Online for $14. It may sound like I am being cheap... And we may be, But you multiply that by 25 and that's a $275 savings... That I am not paying interest on for 15 years. That's a big deal.
We also have to add a wall in our mud room/ food storage room because it's right off of the garage and by code, they can't do it... Whatever.
So, Those are just a few of the issues we have run into {there are more}.... and I'm sure we will run into a whole lot more before its all said and done. But for now, I am happy and excited about the final product. And I am most grateful to Mike for being so wonderful and patient and fighting to the death to get me what I want... Have I mentioned that he is my knight in shining armor? I adore that man.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Smores cookies

I feel like the more and more I try recipes out from Pinterest, That my blog has just become a review for recipes instead of my own anymore! 
But hey, I'm okay with that, I've fount TONS of awesome new ones.

I saw this one, And literally went to the store an hour later and picked up the stuff to make them.
Seriously, I think these have quickly taken a top 3 spot on my list of favorites. Even Michael liked them! And that is really saying something! He NEVER eats sweets.

I followed the recipe to a T, The only recommendation I have is to use miniature chips.
 The teeny tiny ones.

Gooey S’mores Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (7 full graham cracker sheets)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Mini Hershey’s Kisses (or chocolate chips/chunks)
1 cup Jet Puffed Mallow Bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a food processor or blender to crush 7 graham cracker sheets into 3/4 cup fine crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and marshmallows and stir to combine.
Place 1.5 tablespoon sized scoops of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Crescent rolls

You need to try these. If you are new to making breads, this is the recipe to start with! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my grandmas recipes, But they are usually SO time consuming, I just don't have that kind of time on an everyday basis... But I want my kids to still remember growing up eating homemade everything! So, I have been scouring the internet for faster but still delicious recipes, that are a bit faster... And I came across this... 

Just click on the link and follow her recipe... The only thing I did differently was use 5 cups bread flour and 5 cups whole wheat flour. And used organic eggs, milk, and butter. 

Busy Busy Badger...

I have been a busy busy beaver or badger if you will... {my brother in law calls me badger, And now so do his girls. "Aunt badger," If you don't know the honey badgers personality traits, look them up and it will make perfect sense." 
Any how, 
As much as I love my blog, I love doing the things I write about more, And these days I just can't seem to find the time to write everyday... And still make, bake, play and adventure as much as much as I'd like. I'll work on that. {Maybe if prince charming will get me a new macbook I could blog in bed!} But oh heavens, Let me catch you up on a few projects I've been working on.

So you remember that stupendous birthday afternoon that was spent at the fabric store? I couldn't just let the fabric sit there... I had to get my hands on it immediately!  So, Project number one, A romper for Kynzi. I found pant rompers and fell in love with them! However, I wasn't in love with the $45 price tag. So I took 1/2 a yard of yard fabric, and about 2 hours, and made Kynzi this....

I wish I could have gotten a better picture, But she refused to hold still. 
I used Simplicity pattern 1903.
I also figured out how to switch the serger to and from a rolled hem!! 
It's the little things in life folks...

Next project, On the list is this, for Brent.
I avoid sewing on knits like the plague... I've made a few things with it, but it's stretchy and takes patience. And in the process of some research, I have decided I need a serger that also does a cover stitch. I think it'd get me to sew more on knits and start to make things of that nature more often. 
Gap wants $20 a piece for shortall rompers. No way. 
You can find the tutorial here.

In other news the girls had their check ups at the Dr. and the news for LaLa was perfect! Healthy in every way. She was so so brave during her shots. {Her shots so she can go to PRESCHOOL!!! Where has the time gone?} She set such a great example for her little sister!
On the other hand, I'm heart broken that the news wasn't so great for Kynzi. She failed her hearing test again. {The important follow up one we were hoping she'd pass} The inside of her right ear is scarred and disfigured, And I don't think she can hear out of that ear at all. I watched her face as they did the test, and when the music played in her left ear she smiled and giggled, when the music was played in her right ear, She didn't have any reaction. And since the bones in her ear are disfigured, a hearing aid wouldn't be any help, That's Michaels issue as well. So, on to the ENT... and speech therapy. Well, At least she has hearing in one ear. Tender mercies. What a merciful loving father in heaven we have.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

25 years... of pure awesomeness...

Happy Birthday to me! The big 25. It feels good. I feel like I've accomplished a lot in those years. I'm proud of who I am becoming and proud of the skills that I have learned over those years and excited to learn more. I'm pleased with where my life has ended up. I am in love with the real life prince charming, We have 4 gorgeous children, And this will be the year that we move to our forever home that we built together.

I woke up to flowers, balloons. a card, and a few boxes of my favorite candies. It was very cute, Mike hid them in places I would look during the course of getting ready. I found some hot tamales on the bathroom counter, some sour patch kids in my sock drawer, whoppers in the mixer, and milk duds in my purse.

I spent the day at my favorite places, The gym, The fabric store with my wonderful mommy {without children!} And at home/the pool with this sweet family of mine. {And managed to squeeze in a few hours of sewing.} All of my favorite things!

Today was the relaxing "take the day off" day, And tomorrow a few of the girls from the gym and I will go out to dinner to celebrate. And the cake will be in a couple of weeks so that I can share a celebration with my sweet little Kynzi Beast. It's not just my birthday... It's my birth month. The month long celebration! Thank you for the birthday wishes. I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

This is the place

I gave up on spring cleaning... I know, I'm a failure at life. We're moving in 6 months and I'm going to have to go through all the crap then, So I may as well not do it twice!
Last night Michael and I went to go over the blue prints of our forever home.
It was one of the best dates we've been on... Ever.
It doesn't look like this now, it's been changed a million more times... And I'm sure it will change again. We now have a beautiful side entry garage and an addition that will serve as my office. 

It was for lack of a better word, magical, to be sitting with my prince charming planing every detail of the home that we will raise our babies in. Where we want the cable outlets, Where we want the electrical outlets, How big we want the pantry, Where do I want the cabinets and the sink in the laundry room? Did we want to move this wall? Or that closet? Where was the furniture going to go? Will the window work there if we put the bed here?
We spent hours imagining configurations and placements. We haven't even gotten to the design center... The fun stuff, Fixtures, knobs, colors, Etc... That will be in a couple of weeks.
Now, Don't get me wrong, It's not all candy and rainbows... They weren't joking when they said that building a house is one of the most stressful events and that it takes a toll on a lot of marriages... Luckily, Mike is not opinionated at all about the house. He has let me pick every last detail with the exception of the budget {Rightfully so, It would be WAY out of control if it were just up to me} So occasionally we have a difference of opinion but it's always resolved in a matter of a few minutes.
I couldn't help but just beam from ear to ear as we were driving down our new street. There were baseball practices going on, The friday night lights were bright, Families were watching lacrosse games together, and we were driving down OUR street. I had the dumbest smile on my face the whole time. It felt like I was driving "home." The only problem was that there was no house on the dirt where our home will eventually be!  I felt like that was where we belonged. I didn't want to turn around and go back to our temporary house. There was such a beautiful peace surrounding the setting. Our neighbors are so friendly, And the neighborhood is so inviting. People wave as you go by, They go out of their way to meet you. They are the kind of people you could just run to and ask for a stick of butter or a cup of sugar. We haven't come across that in any place that we have lived in our 6 years of marriage. I looked at Mike and said "This is the place" And he he responded "Here we will raise the temples of our God" {Remember Brigham Young finding the spot for the temple in Salt Lake? Just skip that part if it isn't making sense.}
 I laughed and giggled with excitement and pure elation. The only thoughts I had and the only things that matter to me were those of raising our children in righteousness. Raising them together. Creating the environment I want them to have. Creating the life I want them to have. And doing it with Michael Neal. My prince charming who has made this all possible for us. Who has given me 4 beautiful babies, and the life I have always imagined. I am happy and content with where we are now, and enjoy every minute I have with these babies, But the closer we get, The harder I find it to not keep picturing how wonderful the future will be. Remember this post?
The reality is, That while the house will be wonderful, The thing that will make it a home is already here. Michael and I, And these sweet little babies. And Yes, I am excited and ready to move, But the things that are going to make it happy and peaceful and joyful are our family and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am going to savor these 6 months, The last 6 months of this chapter of our life. The last 6 months before a new chapter begins.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I hate cleaning the closets. They are the worst! They always seem to get outrageously out of control. It seems like every week one of the kids just goes in and pulls EVERYTHING off and down onto the floor into a giant pile...

First, I like to start by going through and throwing out anything with a hole or a stain. If it's not fixable of course. And then packing up anything that is too small. Two piles, Keep as hand me downs, or sentimental outfits, {I'm not sentimental at all, But there are a few outfits and pjs I just cant part with, like the ones they came home in the hospital in, or they were blessed in, or a super cute one that I selfishly can't bring myself to pass along to someone else.} And the other pile, donate or pass along to another family.
All of the clothes that are too small are sorted into plastic containers by boy/girl and by size, preemie, 0-3mo, 6-9mo, 12mo, 2T, etc. This makes it way easier to go back and find things when the next kid grows into them.

I hang almost everything up... With the exception of onesies, undies, and socks. All of which have their own drawer.
This is the order of the hanging clothes in the closets from left to right, 
Dresses, longest to shortest, skirts, pants, capris, outfits {shirt and bottoms combo} short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, jackets, and suits. {kind of off to the side because they aren't used but maybe two or three weeks out of the year} Since we are renting right now, I have temporary wire shelves and plastic containers for organizing, But I highly suggest a closet system. They are a HUGE help. In the next house, {one of} the first orders of business is going to be the closet systems.Yes, They can be pricey, but it's a one time expense, and I can't stand a messy closet. Speaking of that, as a side note, I can't wait to not share a closet with Michael. He is as close to perfect as they come, but if I have to pull out an empty hanger from the middle of a bunch of hung up clothes one more time.... He just isn't obsessive compulsive enough. Short sleeve shirts just don't go next to long sleeve shirts, and work shirts don't just go next to t shirts.... Sigh, maybe one day my perfectionist-ism will rub off on him... But probably not... But at least I can close the door to his closet and not have to walk in there when I don't want to look at the disarray of hung up pants next to a short sleeve shirt.
This is pretty identical to how I will set up the kids closets in the next house.

And then there's the linen closets... They will look identical to this...

No, I'm not joking in the least. Labels and all. {insert dreamy sigh and stupid school girl giddy... A label gun... I think I heard the heavens singing,} And yes, I will be purchasing new towels that ALL match and linens that all match. I HATE HATE HATE having 20 different size and colored towels, It drives me up the wall to try and make them look tidy together... It's an impossible task. I do try to go through the closets once every three months. Alright, Buckle down and clean em out... I'm off to get dressed for a hot date! Michael Neal and I are off to go over blue prints for the forever home! {We will have to think of a fairy tale name for it... for future references... I'll work on that! LoL.}

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring cleaning

Back to reality. What a wonderful staycation we had. It went by was too fast! And then... Back to reality... School, Gym, chores... it was nice to have a little break, But at the same time, Its also nice to be back to the routine. And yes, I have missed my blog bad! But I also took a few extra days to tackle some sewing projects, {More on those later, Promise!} And I started this book. You need to read it. It will change your perspective on life, and help you be grateful to have the privilege to wake up and make food for your babies, and clean up their messes. She is one incredible woman.

 So, Monday started the ever so wonderful process of spring cleaning! No, Really, It's probably one of my favorite times of the year. I'm a minimalist to begin with, But it always seems like the crap accumulates at a pace that I can't keep up with. So it feels good to go through and pick through everything with a fine tooth comb so to speak. So, I know this is really pretty basic, But hopefully something in here will make your life a bit easier. I am going to take a room a day and break down how I organize and de-clutter. I was on pinterest the other day, and saw a youtube video by this "professional organizer" and thought to myself, This lady clearly isn't obsessive compulsive... I could do a way better job than that, and she's the one getting paid?!? And if you're really lost, I highly suggest you go pick up this book. What's a dis-organized person to do? By Stacey Platt. It is the organizing Bible. I picked up my copy at Costco for $10. It's

First, The kitchen.
Tackle the pantry first. Take everything out. Blake canvas. Go through and put like things with like things, and throw out expired items. I like containers instead of food boxes, But that's probably due to my OCD-ness. Make sure to vacuum the floor, and wipe the shelves. Keep what you use most often on eye level shelves. Baking items on one shelf, Breakfast items on another, etc.

Then the fridge. Same thing. Empty the whole thing. Wipe the shelves and drawers. Throw out expired items, Group like things. I may be slightly nutzo about the way I like my fridge, But trust me, a few minutes of prep time when you bring in your groceries, goes a LONG way. I Clean the fruit in a water/white vinegar solution {one part vinegar to ten parts water} When I get it in the door from grocery shopping. This makes it so berries don't grow mold spores, and then the kids can just grab and snack, I don't have to worry if its been washed or not. Then I cut the grapes into smaller clutters on the vine. I sort veggies into individual snack bags, etc. It makes meal time and snack time much much faster! {And if you're wondering, No, this isn't all of the food we have, We have two refrigerators and three freezers.} I promise I'm not starving my kids! We do have eggs and meat and all that other stuff, It's just not all in this one.

Now we tackle every cupboard and drawer one at a time. And don't forget under the sink. Empty, wipe, Sort. And for the love, de-clutter! Throw out duplicates, things that are missing a piece {a lid, a straw, etc} You really don't need as much as you think. You don't need 5 sets of measuring cups or spoons, and when was the last time you used that fancy strawberry huller that is taking up space in your drawer?... That's what I thought, Get rid of it! And as a side note, I just replaced all of my nonstick with cast iron, stainless steel and copper. PFOA the chemical used in nonstick is a nasty nasty thing, it has been proven to be a human carcinogen... and has been found to cause cancer, organ damage and birth defects in animals... It's seriously toxic. Do the research for yourself, But I'd rather not take my chances.
Okay, I know it's basic, and I'm sure you know all this stuff, But maybe it will inspire you to start cleaning out the pantry...Right now. Mark get set go!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We are on vacation... My parents are here from Utah, along with 4 of my little brothers, Mike is off from work for the week, And we have taken Blake out of school for this week as well. So, I'll be back to blogging in a bit, But as for now... We are working on our tans, and soaking up the beach, the pool and all the wonderful things that this gorgeous state has to offer... Oh Florida, I love you and your year round 85 degree weather.