Thursday, April 21, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Chicken Coconut Rice

My wonderful sister-in-law Jennifer, who is a whiz in the kitchen and one of the funniest people I know, sent me this recipe this week that I think will easily convert into a bag meal recipe, with a few modifications. I have it on her word that it is a delicious recipe, so I don't hesitate to share it here.

I am planning to try it, but since my meal planning for the month is already all set and I've already done all the shopping, I didn't want to make an extra trip to get these ingredients. It is going on the meal plan for next month, but if you try it before I do I'd love to hear how it goes. :)

Here's the recipe:

Chicken Coconut Rice

2 cups water

1 14oz can coconut milk

1 can water chestnuts

1 12oz can chicken breast

Resealable bag:

2 cups rice
2 tsp sugar

Resealable bag:
1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Combine all ingredients, except peanuts, in a rice cooker and press cook. OR Combine rice, sugar, water, and coconut milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Boil on high heat for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes, then fluff. Add chicken and water chestnuts. Top with peanuts and serve. In times of plenty, top with cilantro. Also, if you can, supplement this by adding 1/2 cup frozen peas.

And here's the recipe card:

Note: Michelle Snow just let me know that you can store roasted peanuts in a snack bag, so you can go ahead and put them in your bag meal. Awesome! I'll correct the recipe card when I'm at my home computer.

Come What May Printables in Every Color

And I'm not kidding!

Ok, so I went a little crazy, but I was having so much fun. I decided to modify the Come What May print so that it was a little more reminiscent of the Keep Calm and Carry On prints, and then when I realized how easy it was to change the background color, I just did it! Like, a billion times.

Anyway, take your pick! Print it off, frame it, put it on your wall. Give it as a gift. Send it to your grandma. Enjoy it. Again, if you just click on these, it will take you to the full-size image. Right click. Select Save Image As. Save it wherever you want , and print it off at your favorite photo developer. 8 x 10s usually run you around $2.50. How's that for some custom artwork, eh?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I've never been very good at journaling. I always feel silly while I'm writing, and then later when I go back and read it I feel even sillier and sometimes even end up ripping pages out and tearing them into tiny pieces. It's that bad. I don't know, I just can't get the right tone down, I guess. I never feel like I sound like myself.

I think my best-chronicled years were my mission years. It was still spotty, and I did better with some companions than others (thanks, Heidi!), but I managed to fill a few composition books, a loose leaf binder, and of course my daily planners. Maybe it was easier then because it felt like there was always something to write about - meeting people, sharing the gospel, disappointments, joys, hilarious moments, really embarrassing ones, and of course extremely spiritual times.

And, you know, times when I got soaked.

The thing is, I feel like this time in my life is also a very spiritual, very precious time. I feel like I have extra responsibility to record these years because my children won't remember them. Isaac is not going to remember a single thing of what happens to him - it'll probably be a year or two more before his first memories kick in. So I feel like I am the keeper of these precious years. And I am not doing a very good job.

Sometimes I feel like I just need to find the right journal. Maybe one with journaling prompts included to help me on days when I'm feeling blank? (Sorry you're feeling so blank inside... anyone? Brian Regan fans?) I really love these printable journaling pages from Grace is Overrated, but after printing several of them out, I realized they weren't really helping me write about my life now. I want someone to create the Mom version, but as of yet, no one has.

So, I finally made myself a journal. It's not the mother of all journals I'd like it to be, but it's a journal and it's cute. I've been wanting to make one for a while, had the perfect fabric picked out, bought my composition book during back-to-school sales for 25 cents. So, six months later, I finally got it together.

Here it is:

Here's how it looks inside.

Yeah, cute journal and everything, and I still don't write in it. I want to. Does the first blank page of a journal intimidate anyone else as much as it intimidates me?

Any suggestions?

Really do love that fabric, though.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: A Birthday Cake for the Non-Sweet Eater

So, my dear friend Carol had a birthday this month. I really wanted to help her celebrate, but there was one little problem: Carol can't eat dairy or sugar. So no cake, no brownies, no cookies, no pudding, no ... ok, I think you get the drift. I guess this is a good thing, since my oven is broken anyway (long story involving me being dumb, so I'll save that for another day).
Anyway, so I had to challenge myself a bit to come up a great way to celebrate Carol's birthday. I decided that everyone should have a birthday cake, so I made her this one:

If you'd like to make one, follow along:

1paper mache box in the size of your choice (I got mine half off at Hobby Lobby)


bright colored scrapbooking paper
rickrack, ribbon, buttons, other doodads and pretties
glue (like Mod Podge)
willingness to get very very very sticky

Step 1:
Measure your box.


Step 2:
Cut your scrapbook paper so that it is the right height. You may have to cut several strips to get the circumference. I needed 2 1/4 strips of 4 x 12 in scrapbook paper.

Step 3:
Using your preferred method, glue the paper to the box. My preferred method is to pour the glue onto a paper plate and then apply it with my fingers. That's why there are no pictures of this step. But just go ahead and get messy. It's fun.

Step 4: Repeat the process with the lid. Cut a little bit more than the height you need so you can wrap it up onto the top. That way no brown paper shows through. Hopefully the pictures will make that make sense.

Step 5:
Let 'em dry.

Step 6:
When it's nice and dry, trace the top of your lid on the scrapbook paper. Of course, you could be smart and just do this before you glue anything onto the lid. But where's the fun in that?

Step 7:
Glue the circle to the top of the lid, then cover the whole shebang with a layer of glue, for that nice shiny look and waterproofness. Dry dry dry.

Step 8:
Decorate! Hey that rhymes. I used rickrack and buttons to give my cake a festive look.

Step 9:
Fill er up with goodies. For Carol, who is a very prolific new seamstress, I chose a fat quarter of happy fabric, a pack of needles, a fabric marking pen, and a measuring tape.

Oh the happiness. I know you guys could have figured that out on your own, but I thought I'd show the process anyway. I'd love to see it if you make a non-edible cake of your own! :)

True Love

This is my husband.

His name is James.

I want to tell you a little story about him, that pretty much explains why I am the luckiest girl alive.

So, sometimes, in the morning, I am just not quite ready to start my day when Isaac is. James is weird, and he has already started his day long before either of us. But that's not the point. The point is that James is awesome, and here's why. Sometimes I use the TV to help me ease into the day. I drag my big fluffy comforter and my pillow into the family room across the hall, I put on an episode of Backyardigans (or if I want a longer rest, Veggie Tales), and I snooze for a little bit longer. I eventually turn the TV off, let Isaac lead me upstairs, we have breakfast, he takes a bath, whatever, we start our day. Meanwhile, my blanket and pillow stay in the family room, completely forgotten.

A long, wonderful day with a toddler follows. James comes home, we play, we eat dinner, the perfect predictability of a lovely life. Not everyone's cup of tea, I know, but boy do I love it. Anyway, I usually put Isaac to bed, then James goes down to bed, and I'm still up doing something - crafting, blogging, wasting time on the computer. Eventually, I decide it's time to call it a night, and I finally shuffle down to bed. I creep into the room as quietly as possible, then think D'oh! My blanket and pillow are still in the family room. Dangit dangit dangit. I creep quietly out again and slink across the hall. Only to find that my pillow and blanket are not there. Confused, I go back into the bedroom. There, laid out for me, are my pillow and blanket.

This may seem completely ridiculous, but to me, that is true love spelled out right there. James thought of me. He saw my pillow and blanket, knew I'd want them, and just quietly transferred them right to the place where I would need them. And he does things like that all the time. Little things to make my life more convenient. He brings my cell phone in from the car for me. He changes Isaac's diaper before he leaves in the morning. He unloads the dishwasher. He takes Isaac outside as soon as he gets home from work so that I can get some time to myself. He encourages me to do the things that I love and the things that I want to do. And these simple little things make me feel loved. How lucky I am.

And in case that wasn't enough to win you over, here are a few pictures of him being completely adorable:

cuddling with Isaac

doing dishes with Isaac

sharing his ice cream with Isaac, while holding mine

What about you guys? What makes you feel lucky and loved?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Camera Critters: A Giveaway!

I've been working on some more camera creatures. These are so fun to make. I love working with the bright fabrics, flowers, and feathers, and I love coming up with something a little different for each one. 

And I love photographing myself in the bathroom mirror. =P  These are now available in my Etsy shop, so if you know a photographer or a new parent or just anyone who might get some use out of one of these fun guys, I'd appreciate it if you'd refer them to the shop. :)

And hey, guess what? My friend Kristal of KP Photography is sponsoring a giveaway in which you could win a camera critter of your very own! All you have to do is hop on over to her website and follow the directions. Good luck!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who Would You Meet and Why?

I find that some of my most lasting memories are ones where I somehow embarrassed myself. Do you find that's true, or is it just me? Like, I remember all these random conversations just because I said something dumb in them. I remember so many times when my parents corrected me and I felt stupid about it, even though I know that the times they were supportive and forgiving were far more frequent then the times they scolded me.

Or I can't stand to listen to "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis because I once wrote out all the lyrics to give to a boy I was "going out with" (we were 12, by the way) then dumped him the next day when I got no response. That still makes me feel so stupid. I hate that song. Doug Howard, if you're out there, I'm sorry. I was 12, though, so I should get some slack, right? Not from myself. I still blush and feel ridiculous just hearing that song. Here it is in case you don't know what I'm referencing:

And I think about these episodes a lot. Try to redo them, I guess. Like, the one I really want to talk about today -- it was senior year. AP English. Probably the first week of class, and we'd been given the assignment to interview a classmate and prepare a presentation to give to the class about that person. Our teacher gave us all the same 5 questions to ask each other.

One of the questions was a pretty classic, cliche type question that you often get asked: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

At the time, I just couldn't think of anyone at all. I was pretty shy, and I couldn't imagine myself having a conversation with anyone famous. I mean, what would I say?

So, at the time, drawing a blank, I said Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay. Yeah I know. Lame, huh? And what's lamer is that I still feel stupid about that. I mean, this was 9 years ago and I know, I know, nobody cared who I would hypothetically meet. But I still feel like I should have--and could have--come up with something a little more meaningful. You know, like one of my grandfathers who passed away before I was born. Or I don't know... Gandhi.

I think about that a lot, though. And I have realized that who my 17-year-old self really wanted to meet, living or dead, was the prophet Joseph Smith. I would say Jesus Christ, but I don't think my 17-year-old self was really ready to meet Jesus. But Joseph Smith . . . now I could have learned a lot from him. I was having a lot of doubts about the church, which I eventually figured out, but getting a read on the boy prophet would have been awesome. That would have been a much better answer.

Definitely more true than "Chris Martin". I mean, honestly, I'd have nothing to say to that guy except, "Your album Parachutes replaced REM's Automatic for the People as my go-to album when I'm in a teenage angsty mood." And I don't think he'd really care to hear that, anyway. And I'd have nothing really to ask him, either. It's not like I was really a big fan or anything. I just really liked that album. It's pretty weird that I still think about that and think dumb dumb dumb, huh?

Now, I definitely have a better answer to that question. I have lots of answers to that question, in fact. I'd love to meet the aforementioned grandfathers. I'd love to meet my mom and dad 30 years ago (come on, that would be cool). I'd love to meet Paul (New Testament guy) - you know, get some clarification on some of those epistles. I'd love to meet a peasant from the middle ages - find out what life was like there and then. I'd love to meet Joseph Smith, and that is true.

What about you? Who would you meet and why? And if it's Chris Martin, well, I promise not to think you're dumb.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Come What May and Love It -- A Printable for You

It seems like there have been a lot of things happening around me lately reminding me that life is hard. Life is really, really, really, really hard. Not mine, mind you, but there are tragedies occurring in the lives of those I love. There is sickness and disease. There are hard decisions being faced. There is sadness and regret and uncertainty. There are bad things happening to some really, truly good people.

But this one little phrase keeps coming back to me--one that I heard in LDS General Conference way back in October of 2008. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin spoke about overcoming adversity. He gave four very specific suggestions for dealing with difficult situations: learn to laugh, seek an eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. His talk has stuck with me, though--and will continue to stick with me my whole life--simply because of one phrase. When life becomes difficult and you have to "[drink] deeply from the cup of disappointment, sorrow,  and loss" he said: come what may, and love it. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: A Birthday Bunting

When we were kids, my sisters and I loved -- I mean love, love, love, love, loved -- to make birthday banners. And not just for birthdays, no no. Welcome Home! banners. We Love You! banners. We Want More Allowance! banners. (Ok, I may have made that last one up, but it would have been a great idea.)

We had a dot matrix printer - you know the kind where the pages of paper are all connected, so the banners are lovely but you can ruin your school report if you don't rip carefully enough? Yeah, one of these babies:

image found here

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Cow Says Moo: A Magnet Story

On Saturday, James made the dangerous decision to say "No" -- when I asked him if he would mind if I went shopping at a fabric store for a little while. :) I got some adorable new fabric to make into cuffs, as well as more adorable fabric to make into a bunting (tune in for that tutorial tomorrow). Then, well, he said he didn't mind, so instead of coming straight home after I left the fabric store, I figured I'd swing by Hobby Lobby -- since it was on the way home and all. <Insert devious grin>

Yeah, like that. :) But I had pure intentions, see. I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby because I really really really wanted to make these magnets for Isaac. (Have I mentioned that Jessica from Utah County Mom is a genius?) Of course, while at Hobby Lobby, I picked up a ton of other things, but that's beside the point. Isaac loves his magnets and that's all that matters.

Best part? Isaac now knows that a cow says "Moo." And if you ask him to find the cow, he'll run to the fridge, grab the cow magnet, and come running back yelling "Moo mooo mooo moo moo mooo." Entertainment for parents and child alike.

So, thanks Jessica for the idea! Now I just have to make the magnetic board! Jessica, you are going to kill my budget if you keep posting all these awesome ideas. :P

What about you guys? Anything fun this weekend? Do anything devious?

*Oh, and speaking of Utah County Mom, Jessica's got a giveaway going on right now - open until tomorrow! - for tickets to the Living Planet Aquarium. If you're a local, go enter to win a fun trip to see the fishes.*

Friday, April 8, 2011

Food Storage Friday: A Helpful Site Change

So, I thought it might be a good idea to put all the recipe cards I've created in a central place. You may have noticed a new button at the top of the blog. Right there next to "Home" and "Favorite Blogs," there's now a button for "Recipe Cards." So now you don't have to go slogging through all my posts to find a recipe card for your bag meals. They're all there. I'll keep updating it, too, as I add more recipe cards to the repertoire.

In other food-related news, this week I decided to do something a little crazy. I usually make a one-week meal plan and then go buy everything I need for those meals. One week at a time, that's how I did things. Well, after reading a lot about meal planning, trying to get some new ideas, I decided to try planning an entire month's worth of meals. I know - exciting!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Man... I Feel Like a Woman?

So, I've been reading again. This time I picked up Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax--the same author of Boys Adrift. This book was written before Boys Adrift, and it tried to focus on physiological differences between the sexes (you know, besides the obvious). For instance, did you know that girls, from infancy, have better hearing than boys? Next time you think a boy is ignoring you, maybe the truth is he can't hear you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Awesome Blog Alert: Utah County Mom

So, my cousin-in-law (? That's weird. Let's go with friend) friend, Jessica, is this incredibly talented woman. She makes the most beautiful, cool, creative things. And she's just really savvy - like, always knows where to get a good deal, or where to go to entertain small children, or what to do on a rainy day. And now, thanks to popular request, she has started a blog to share all of her awesome adventures.


It's called Utah County Mom, and even though she's just started , she has tons of awesome posts.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


When we were growing up, we used to make fun of my dad for how he would casually toss out these (what we felt were) obscure vocabulary words expecting us to completely understand what he was talking about. I clearly remember my dad telling me not to "get all apoplectic", for example. Once I learned what apoplectic meant, I was simultaneously offended that  he would call me that, and thrilled that I had a new, impressive word to add to my growing arsenal.

My dad was always doing that - making me feel intelligent by teaching me something new. (He was also always doing weird things like asking me how I felt about taxidermy in order to start a conversation. me: "What do you mean, like - in general? or as a career choice?" Dad: "Just what do you think about taxidermy?" But that's a post for another day.) The reason I bring this up is because I remember very clearly a word my dad took pains to teach us growing up. He gathered us all together for a family home evening to teach us all the meaning of the word edify.

Friday, April 1, 2011

KP Photography Orchard Photo Shoot - Giveaway

So, I know this totally talented photographer. I've told you about her before. Well, she also happens to be a pretty generous woman. She's doing a giveaway right now, offering a free orchard photo shoot. Whoever wins this is crazy lucky--and heck yeah, I'm hoping it's me! But maybe it will be you. Head over to her facebook page to enter. All you have to do is share news of the giveaway on facebook or on your blog or twitter or all three. So here's hoping I win - or you do :)

Food Storage Friday: Pancakes 2.0

Well, we've had an interesting week. This is what has been going on around here:

Isaac and I had a lot of fun watching the men with the various types of saws hacking away at our trees. Hopefully we will have a lot fewer apricots and apples than last year, but at the same time a lot better. :)

I did manage to tear our eyes away from the window for a little while this morning in order to try again on the whole wheat pancakes. I really wanted to figure out what went wrong last time - and guess what? I totally figured it out. I was trying to modify the food storage recipe to a fresh foods recipe (I don't have any powdered eggs, yet) and I totally misunderestimated (yep, I said it) the amount of eggs I would need. For some reason I thought 3 tablespoons of powdered egg would be just one fresh egg. Wrong.


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