Monday, March 30, 2009

through the years

H a P p Y   B i R t H d A y  K e A t O n

Keaton's 15 today!  Time flies - enjoy your little ones =)  Well, I enjoy the teenage years too - but it is different!  Definitely precious when they're young.

Oreo birthday cake anyone?  It's probably only 1000 calories per bite ;)

This is Keaton's tradition, every year I make an oreo ice cream cake for him.  Ice cream sandwiches layer, cool whip, chocolate pudding and cream mixed together for another layer,crushed oreos is the next layer, fudge sauce layer and another layer of ice cream sandwiches - freeze until solid and then frost with cool whip.  Sprinkle more crushed oreos on top.  
Sinfully delicious =)
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blogging about more Hummingbirds ;)

Here is a close up after I got a new hummingbird feeder (okay, I bought 2 of them . . . and 3 more that hang off my deck!  I admit my addiction) that suctions right to my window:
Here he is guarding the feeder from other hummingbirds:

He sits there all day fluttering from one tree branch to another and chases off competition!  Hummingbirds fly extremely FAST!!

I love hummingbirds!
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Girls Camp Theme

I took a few pictures from Ensign Ranch yesterday . . . in the snow . . . but that's where we're having girl's camp this year.  Our theme is 'be thou an example' and 'follow the yellow brick road'.  I designed this from the scripture 1 tim 4:12 and am hoping to use it somewhere along the way:
This is the amphitheater:
Tough to see the layout and imagine 150 girls and leaders fitting.  I used the Scarecrow icon and it says 'if I only had a drain'.
These are the tee pees we'll be sleeping in:
I used the tin man icon and typed 'if I only had a tarp'.  There were a few more photos and sayings, but those 2 above were my favorite =)
I also made ruby slippers out of paper from a template I found here:

Stephanie cut out most of them, Jonathan scored and painted the glitter on and I glued them together, tied the bows and added the saying.
The saying says 'somewhere over the rainbow - I lived in heaven a long time ago, lived there and loved there with people I know' from the Primary song. (cause rainbow, ago and know rhyme)

A photo of how the slippers were presented.  We did this all last night and today - it was craziness - wish we would have had more time!  But that's the theme of my life lately ;)
All cutsie Wizard of Oz graphics I used from this site.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

I guess some months are for crafting and some are for cooking/baking - funny . . .
Anyway, I baked a cake called Texas Sheet Cake for Enrichment - I've never made one before and I don't recall ever eaten a piece either - so my impression was it must not be that tasty ;)
The recipe was:
Mix 2 cups flour and 2 cups sugar in a bowl
Boil together:
1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup water & 4 tbsp cocoa
Then add:
1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon
I altered it to:
2 cups cake flour - sifted
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl.
1 cup butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Bring the butter, milk and chips to a boil. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Combine above 4 ingredients and add to cooled butter mixture. Whisk together until batter is
Add to dry ingredients. Add 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and then to greased jelly roll pan.
Bake 350 degrees on convection oven for 20-25 minutes.
Then of course I had to make my own frosting too:
Frosting was:
1/2 cup butter, 2 tbsp cocoa, 1/3 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 4 oz cream cheese.
1/2 cup butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar
6 oz cream cheese
I melted the butter, chips, cream and 3 oz of the cream cheese together until chips were melted and mixture was smooth. Then I added the vanilla. I let it cool for 10 minutes or so and transferred it from a pot to my mixer. I beat in the powdered sugar and remaining 3 oz cream cheese.

And it's finger lickin' good - forget using that saying for fried chicken ;) Oh yeah, I guess frosting isn't typically a 'finger food' - haha
I decided to decorate the top with some fun layers - chocolate curls, cocoa and roasted pecans (I baked a bag of chopped pecans naked and then added 2 tbsp butter to them, then added 2 tbsp sugar - I know most people add those 2 ingredients to nuts before baking them - but it is super yum this way too).
The chocolate curls photo could be a stock photo ;) I like it! Best tool was indeed the potato peeler.
I measured out some lines and used dental floss as my guide since it's pretty sterile - I use floss in the kitchen quite often actually:

Here's when I had 3 toppings on the frosting:

So, it probably doesn't look anything like a Texas Sheet Cake - but I had fun ;) And I tasted the frosting and it's SO yummy - so I'm really hoping the cake part is good too!
Are you noticing my lines aren't straight? Well, let's move past that - can't wait to taste it at Enrichment on Thursday! I have to remember and save a piece to bring home to Jonathan =)
Now to try and find something to keep it covered without lifting the frosting or toppings off later . . .
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jalapeno Popper Recipe

Here ya go Steph - the recipe! =) We ate these as an appetizer at a restaurant together and I made my own concoction . . . because me always thinks to myself 'I can totally copy this' ;) Everyone else, BEWARE: this stuff is addicting - you could make a meal out of it alone . . . and then you still crave it again the very next meal! Absolutely the yummiest thing out there:

14 jalapenos - sliced in half long ways, insides and seeds removed
Wear food grade gloves when handling this many jalapenos at once - trust me, I learned this the hard way ;) It is a very uncomfortable feeling to have your hands continually burn for 4+ hours!!
Mix together:
4 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves raw garlic, crushed
1 can green chilies
1/2 cup chopped artichokes
Cut in half:
14 pieces of THIN sliced bacon
Stuff filling into each jalapeno halve and wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around it.
Bake it 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes - can even broil it for the last few minutes.
ummmmm, now my mouth is watering for these babies . . .
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Monday, March 16, 2009

How tired can you be?

Brady is my 'napper', if he's tired, he'll sleep whatever position he's in when his eyes finally do shut - he actually does resist falling asleep until the last possible moment.  

Maybe it was all the dragging the boys around when they were little - they learned to just sleep when they were tired regardless where they were at.  I didn't keep a schedule . . . mostly because I liked to shop and be social and didn't want to be stuck home bound.  But I've still never met another kid who stays asleep from the car seat, into the shopping cart or stroller and back into the car seat without waking up - talk about a DEEP sleeper ;)
Sleeping just about anywhere and anytime!  This was Brady on the couch last week as I was heading off to bed:
Doing homework, pencil still in his hand, sitting upright - perhaps it was his music that lulled him to sleep ;)  I used a flash for that photo and he didn't even stir!
This was at my sisters last month:
Who can stay asleep sitting up?  Kinks in your neck anyone?
But then again, he's been doing it for a long time:

And if the fish aren't biting, I get bored too and think a nap sounds perfect ;)

But I haven't ever seen a person fall asleep in this position unless they were a baby:
This was a weekly scene when the boys were growing up, mind you this time we've fallen asleep on a love seat - not too comfy for very long but definitely a built-in heat source ;)

The nice thing about never saying 'shhh, the kids are sleeping' is that they learn to sleep when they're tired regardless of what's going on around them.  The phone could ring, I could vacuum and I even cut tile once (that's extremely LOUD) during nap time . . . Brady and Keaton both slept through everything I ever needed to do.  A huge benefit to not keeping a routine?  LoL
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

I can't wait until I get an owee . . .

 . . . so, yeah, that title is a little sick in the head ;)  But, I came across this band-aid in the Curious George box of band-aids and I have claimed it!  No, serious, everyone in my family knows it's mine - LoL  
And I already know it's very strange to actually protect this band-aids' whereabouts - but I do ;)
Have you ever seen such a 'HaPpY' band-aid?  
I would definitely wear it with pride.  (Yes, I realize how weird that sounds)  The one thing that worries me about needing to actually wear it, is that this size band-aid is not the typical size, it's pretty big and I don't really do well with having a cut that big.  So, with this dilemma - I think I am pretty happy just to have it on hand and to never really use it.  I would have a tough time giving it to someone else though too . . . it's MiNe and I'm pretty set on just keeping it around to look at.  Such a happy smile =)
See '25 Random things about Cheri' and read #7 & #9 and this post will (hopefully) make more sense ;)
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Brining Chicken or Turkey

I brine my whole turkey for Thanksgiving with this same process as I'm brining my chicken for Sunday dinner.  Only for a turkey - I use a cooler because it's so big (I keep it in the cooler for 3 days).  Here I'm just using a big bowl and I've added about *1 gallon of water.  It's important to keep track of how much water you use because you'll add *1 cup kosher salt per gallon water for the brine.
*Then it's 1/2 cup brown sugar to every cup of salt
*3-6 bay leaves depending on the size of the bird
*Small handful of peppercorns 
     (I use white peppercorns)
     Buy the bay leaves and peppercorns in bulk
     and it's quite cheap!
*1-2 tbsp liquid smoke 
     (this is a great item for your food storage - 
     a little goes a long way for flavor!)
I freeze my whole chickens until I'm ready to use them, so it does need about 6 hours to defrost using the brining method - I keep my chicken in the brine solution for about 24 hours.  After the chicken is defrosted, I put it in my refrigerator until ready to bake.  I brine AND cook my whole birds upside down so the flavor and moistness stays in the bulk of the meat.

Before baking it, rinse the bird (gets rid of the excess salt) and stuff the bird if desired (I add onion, whole garlic and fresh thyme).  Add butter to the skin and seasoning.  We roast it on convection baking for 4 hours (because that's how long we're gone for church) in the oven at 325 upside down and then 425 for 1/2 hour right side up (while we finish preparing the side dishes) to crisp it up. Brine a turkey 3 days prior to cooking it.
Brining any meat makes it tastier, moist and more tender.  Brine vs marinade - personally I'd go with brining!
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Friday, March 13, 2009

search blog . . .

am I dense or what?  LoL  I never noticed the area you could type in the box and then 'search' your blog, my blog - and then Jonathan pointed it out =)  Now I can find my stuff easier  ;)
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Visiting Teaching idea for March

Visiting Teaching message for March is Uphold, Nourish and Protect the Family.  It really focuses on being engaged in the world and defending our families by creating a safe and happy home.

I created the images with the verses from the scripture D&C 88:119, then printed out on card stock, used contact paper on both sides, glued them on flat marbles with Crystal Effects from Stampin' Up! and hot glued a magnet on the back.

I put the magnets in a bag with the 'Home is a Haven against storms and struggles in life' as a topper.
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

New Commercial Kitchen Faucet

Yuck: old kitchen sink and faucet we ended up replacing from the utility sink, which stayed there for 3 months:

We wanted to buy this 
commercial faucet when our other one stopped working for $600.  On Friday we found this kitchen faucet at Costco for $150 =)  I already had the sink sitting in my garage for 2 years bought off Craigslist for $100.  The new sink and faucet:

But still no one raced to the kitchen to rinse dishes any quicker =(  hehe
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Saturday, March 7, 2009

You know you have boys when

you come across a list of '10 cool things' (written by Keaton) and on that list are:
4. Video games
10. Movies with limbs getting ripped off
     Do video games influence the appeal for watching people's limbs being ripped off?  (Keaton assured me that it's only entertaining when it's supposed to be 'fake' looking and the people who made the movie makes it funny on purpose - ooooohhhhh, that's supposed to make me feel better?  LoL)
Bizarre off-the-wall things:
3. Birds chirping on a dead moonlit tree
1. A beam of light shining through a coniferous forest
The hilarious things on that list:
9. Kip's lisp (from Napoleon Dynamite)
The tender things:
2. A day with my dad
8. Ms. Simoni's Math class
The normal things:
7. Lost (the TV show)
     Keaton told me he had to write it for Health.  (mental health????  Is his teacher going to analyze these lists?  Perhaps she should - I know for sure I'd show up for that teacher-parent conference - LoL)  Keaton's list was definitely unique (a word only used by a mother when defending her child's creative mind, eh?).  Keaton said he was just trying to think up weird things when he listed some of the 'bizarre' items.  I'm hoping 50% of this list is 'normal' and I should not worry ;)
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Recipe

This is super tasty - I think you should make it!  =)
Start off by sauteing 1 onion in 4 tbsp of butter, when it starts browning after 5 minutes or so, add 2 Tbsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp pepper & 2 tsp ground coriander:
Add 1/4 cup flour to 1 cup sour cream and mix together, then add to onion mixture:
Add 1 can diced green chilies, 2 Tbsp chicken stock paste and 2 cups water:
Add 3 cooked and cubed chicken breasts - maybe 1 1/2 cups or so:

Layer chicken mixture:
cut up flour tortillas:
and 1 cup mozzarella cheese per layer (this recipe makes 3 layers in a 9x13 pan):

Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle fresh cilantro leaves over the top and serve with sour cream =)  YUM!!
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cheri's Chocolate Chip Cookies

We made some cookies tonight mostly for Brady's Modern World History teacher (bribing for help with this diplomacy game) and I told Brady he could bring in a dozen for him. Brady asks how much will be left over and I say a lot. Brady then asks 'can I have a dozen?' So because he is razor thin and maybe because my own mother never let me have a dozen cookies when I was a kid (and okay, a really good reason to get them out of the house so I don't eat that dozen cookies myself) I said 'yes'. Isn't it funny how it created the notion you're the best mother in the world - Brady didn't say that, but a hug and excitement in his voice said he was extremely happy for his share of the cookies - LoL
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Turn on oven to 375º.
1 cup flaked coconut
Brown coconut in oven for 5-10 minutes.
2 cups butter
4 cups brown sugar
4 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
Cream butter and brown sugar until whipped lightly, add vanilla, eggs and mayo in and mix well.
5 cups oatmeal (finely blended)
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp kosher salt
In a blender, finely blend oatmeal and then combine with flour, soda, powder and salt. Add to butter mixture.
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 cups toffee chips
Add all chips and coconut to dough and stir together well.
Drop by spoon fulls on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes.

I usually just bake a dozen and roll the rest of the dough into balls, place on cookie sheet and freeze 4 hours or overnight. Then I place the cookie balls into freezer zip lock bags and can bake them up real quickly! =) You could add nuts if you like. You can also cut this recipe in half - it works the same.
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