Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Wednesday.

Doesn't that smile just brighten your day?

* Every single morning I wake up tired.  And as I hit my {snooze} button once or twice, I promise myself that 'Tonight...I'm going to bed early.  No matter what'.  And then...every single night....'tonight' hits and I stay up late.  Again.  And the cycle continues.  It's not even that I have a valid excuse to stay up late.  I'm usually just watching TV.  But the beauty of it's ME time.  ALONE time.  KID FREE time.  And I seriously savor it.  I guess it's {kinda} worth waking up tired for, no?

* Why is everyone over-reacting about everyone over-reacting about Hurricane Irene?  Isn't it a GOOD thing that we were so prepared??  Shouldn't we be GLAD that it wasn't as bad as they forecasted?  Why do some people seem bugged that there was 'too much hype'?  I personally would be thanking my lucky stars... had I lived back east.

* Hoda Kotb has the most awkward facial expressions.  Don't believe me?  Just try watching her in a Dateline interview.  Like this one. It was HORRIBLE!  

* I treated myself to a pedicure today.  Which reminded me....why on earth do nail salons play the WEIRDEST music ever??? I mean seriously.  I know that they're trying to 'relax' us with their 'special' tunes......but come on!  It's so WEIRD...that no relaxing can ever be done.  Dear Nail Salons across the U.S.  Please play more of THIS and THIS and less of THIS.  And then...we can talk relaxing.

* Speaking of nail it just me or do their special 'massage' chairs never seem to work right?

* It was 115 degrees at noon today.  NOON!  Which means it got even hotter by 4 PM.  I've likened our AZ summer days to most peoples SNOW days.  When it's this hot...we are pretty much home bound.  Don't even like to leave our house! 

* Is anyone else checking Target around the clock to see when they'll be un-veiling their Halloween stuff?  I am giddy in anticipation.  Please don't let me down this year Target!

* There is nothing and I mean NOTHING good on TV right now.  Desperately awaiting the fall TV lineup to return.  {Does it sound like I need a life maybe?  Nah!}

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This n That around my house.

I love decorating my house.  And it seems like a never ending process.  Which I LOVE...because it always gives me something FUN to focus on.  That is...when I have free time.  My problem is that I won't decorate a certain spot, unless the piece that I am adding, is something that I LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Which is why I still have a few bare spots around my walls.  

A new store recently opened up close to my house though, and it has given me the 'bug' to start filling up some of those empty spots.  I literally LOVE everything in their store.  It's called Rod Works.  For those of you in just arrived here in AZ and I am in LOVE.  

I finally found a few things to cover the bare spot between my two family room windows.

The outlining rod iron piece is actually meant to hold a calendar.  But I like to think....that I thought 'outside' the box. Wink! 

The frame matches my kitchen/family room motif perfectly.  LOVE the damask!

I've also been wanting to re-do my kitchen table centerpiece area.  It was feeling pretty drab. {No picture to prove it, but trust me}.  Lucky for me, I have a SUPER talented mom who can sew like there's no tomorrow.  I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out some fabric to match my kitchen {40% off of course.  Woot!}  My mom whipped me up a table runner and I am in love.

While at the Hob-Lob, I also found a cute tin black vase {50% off} and a bouquet of red flowers {also 50% off} and I came up with this:

I love the ball-ed detail on the ends of the runner.  That mom of mine.  There's not much she can't do.

And to top it all off...London approves.  Which is kind of a big deal.  Because if she had it her way...our entire house would be PINK!

Side Note:  I apologize for the repeated use of the word LOVE.  I just can't help myself.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tip of the Day.

You might not know this about me but...when I throw a party....I almost always have to have matching water bottles.  Whether it be a printable found online, or a piece of scrapbook paper...I love love love to dress up Costco water bottles.  Which is why I keeled over in happiness when I found this little tip from Creative Party Buzz.

Have you noticed that at most stores lately {Wal-mart, Target, JoAnns} they carry TONS of cute Duct Tape?  I mean SUPER cute!  Well, Creative Party Buzz has used this same CUTE duct tape as water bottle labels.  AND....the cool thing about using this is that you can dump the bottles right into the ice bowl...unlike the paper labels. glue dots are required since the duct tape sticks right on to the bottle!  I LOVE this!  And I am hightailing it back to Walmart tomorrow to purchase this roll:

...because every party of mine needs a few polka dots here and there!

Speaking of duct cute nephew makes the most adorable duct tape wallets.  

Like this one:

And this one:

...And you can see MORE of his clever little wallets HERE.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's a tad early for this but.....

I know, I know.  It's not even September yet.  I just can't help myself though.  I am naturally drawn to all things Halloween starting at this same exact time, every year!'s still 115 degrees here in Phoenix, so it feels like nothing NEAR fall time.  But one can dream, right?  Here are my favorite HALLOWEEN Pinterest finds from this week.

Skeleton Cupcakes made out of Marshmallows and white chocolate pretzels.  Adorbable.  Found from Cookies and Cups HERE.

Tootsie Pop Spiders.  Love it!  Found from OhDeeDoh HERE.

Candy Corn Poms.  Have you ever made these?  They are surprisingly easy.  I'm thinking an orange and black combo would be equally as cute.  Found from Nothing but Country HERE.

And last but definitely not least....

Plastic bugs stuck onto your legs.  I am SO going to sport this look for this year's Coombs family Halloween bash.  Found via Martha.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My favorite Fruit Dip recipe.

I'm a dipper.  And I'll be first to admit that I usually like the dip better than whatever it is that I'm dipping.  Case in fruit dip recipe.  I could eat it by the spoonfuls.  I made this last night for a Board Meeting that I had at my house and it reminded me how much I love it.  It is definitely worth sharing.

Marci's Fruit Dip Recipe

1 package of cream cheese
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tub of Cool Whip

Mix all together.  Add a couple teaspoons of cherry juice and a couple teaspoons of powdered sugar to taste.  I always add a few drops of pink food coloring as well...just to make it pretty!

Super easy. And did I mention....low fat?  Wink!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Random Wednesday {posted on Thursday}.

* Enough already with the Kim Kardashian wedding coverage. Did anyone ever really even care?  Don't get me wrong...I'm definitely celeb ob-sessed {Perez and I are practically besties}....but it's Kim Kardashian we're talking about.  Woo.  Hoo.  

* Speaking of celebs....have I told you that I LOVE Jason Bateman?  I find him hysterically charming.  And my fingers are crossed that he will pull through with an "Arrested Development" movie. 

* I'm no germ-a-phobe by any means.  But it really gets my goat when I hear someone close to me in a store practically hacking up a lung. Stay home!

* Wal-mart's produce is nasty.  

* I really really really like the show "Nightline".  It may be the inner {news-ish} geek in me but I am always fascinated with their stories.  Like THIS one.  {There are some WEIRD people out there! If you want a good laugh...just watch this news story.}

* Besides "Nightline", I'm also obsessed with three cable networks.  TLC. TRU TV.  And the Food Network.  True story...the other night Joe and I were watching a Food Network show all about steaks.  I went to bed, and unbeknownst to me, Joe fired up the grill at MIDNIGHT and grilled himself a big fat steak.  Food Network can do that to you.  

* Does anyone else think that eye appointments are slightly awkward?  I went in last week for my yearly check-up and it reminded me of how much I hate it.  It's dark.  The optometrist always stands uncomfortably close.  You can smell their breath.  And then....when they ask on those charts 'which one can you see better?  Better?  Or worse? Better?  Or worse?' ..... can anyone REALLY ever see a difference?  I feel like I'm being tricked with those.  And they ALWAYS look exactly the same to me.  

* Why don't boys flush the toilet?  Seriously.  I always kind of thought it was a myth.  Until I had some of my own.  It is like pulling teeth to get Grant and Carson to remember. And I've got the toilet grime to prove it!

* I think the show "My Babysitters a Vampire" should be axed off of the Disney channel.  It scares the heebie-jeebies outta my kids.  And no show on Disney should do that.  Walt would not be happy if he were alive.

* I got behind an extreme coupon-er at the store today.  I could not have been more bugged.  I'm all for saving a buck or two, don't get me wrong.  But these people really irritate me.  One line open and the customer has seriously 100 coupons.  I'm a one stop shop girl.  If I can't find all my groceries at's just too bad.  Because who has the time and patience to run around town with kids in tow and shop for the cheapest dental floss?  Just doesn't seem worth it to me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I use my crock pot a lot.  And I mean A LOT.  Especially on Sundays.  Because who wants to come home after 3 hours of church and prepare something?  Not me.  I like most of my work done so we can dig in as soon as soon as possible!  The dish I made this past Sunday was dee-lish and definitely worth sharing.   I have actually made a version of this in the oven before but like I said...I needed to adapt it to my crock pot to get faster and more convenient results {smile}.  I wish I had taken a picture.  But we were so famished that we all snarfed it down before any picture taking moments were left.  So take my word for it...and Enjoy!

Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts {I always use frozen}
1 bottle of Catalina dressing
1 jar of Apricot preserves
1 green bell pepper {chopped into good size chunks}
1 red bell pepper {chopped into good size chunks}
1 package Dry onion Soup mix
optiona *** Pineapple chunks

Place your chicken breasts in the crock pot.  Sprinkle onion soup mix directly on top.  Place your bell peppers in there as well.  Cover with bottle of Catalina dressing.  Cook all day or on high for about 5 hours.  30 minutes before serving, take out the chicken and add the Apricot Preserves.  Stir until mixed.  Shred chicken, salt and pepper to taste and return to crock pot.  Add pineapples to mixture right before serving.  Serve with rice.

My kids LOVED this recipe.  And so did I.  And so did Joe.  Which means that it was a Coombs family hit!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preparing for the Temple HANGER handout.

YW Manual 3 Lesson 17

I had the opportunity to teach my cute Laurels today in church.  The lesson was on "Preparing for the Temple".  The Temple is always one of my favorite topics.  {To find out more about my religion click HERE.}.

When I was a teenager, one of MY leaders gave me a really pretty hanger to {some day} hang my temple dress on.  I saved it all those years and really did use it when I first went through! SO....when I saw THIS idea on Sugardoodle...I knew that I needed to make some up for MY girls.  

I think they were pleased with them...{I hope?} The hangers were purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond.  {They were impossible to find}.  I used the pattern from the handout on Sugardoodle and traced it onto my own card stock with the saying already printed out.  Font used was Curly.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random Wednesday.

I wish falling asleep was as easy as this.

* The Post Office is going to be cutting back their hours of business and closing some of their locations.  Seriously???  I'm pretty sure we're all in agree-ance when I say that the Post Office is THE SLOWEST PLACE ON THE PLANET.  Why on earth would they make going there even MORE miserable?  And MORE busy?  Joe and I always joke that our post office scene would make the PERFECT skit for Saturday Night Live.  The workers there could care LESS how slow they are and how LONG their line is. And if the line is out the door and it's time for their darn...they're taking their break. No matter what.  It's as though it doesn't even phase them.  It's brutal going there.

* Alex Trebek has a stalker.  It's true.  I heard it on Access Hollywood myself.  What on earth would possess someone to stalk Alex Trebek?  If you're going to stalk a celebrity...go for the big-wigs.  Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell even!  But Alex Trebek?

* I like watching "America's Got Talent" when there's nothing else on.  But the more I watch the auditions, the more I think it should be re-named to "Who Wants to be the Next Circus Star?"  Is it me or do MOST of the auditions come straight from the 3 Ring traveling tour?

* Does anyone else think that Lady Gaga ALWAYS sounds like she has a stuffed nose when she speaks?

* I love Glee.  But Glee 3D at the movies?  Is this really necessary?  

* Hobby Lobby closes every night at 8.  EIGHT! On behalf of moms everywhere....I think we should write a letter to complain.  8:00 is when most of us moms make it out the door FREE WILLY with no kids.  It's FINALLY our time of the day to shop crafty-ish things with no one pulling at our legs.  Please Hobby Lobby....stay open until AT LEAST NINE!

* Speaking of stores...KOHLS really needs to invest in some more shopping carts.  Every time I go and take London with me...they NEVER have any.  I think there's a total of 3 per store.  Drives me nuts.

* Did you know Paradise Bakery now sells scones?  They do.  And they are divine. And they gave me a sample the other day when I was there.  {As if I need one more bakery item to be hooked to!}  Sigh.

* Vanilla Berry Sorbet at Bath and Body Works.  Smells better in the bottle than on your hands. Trust me on this.

* I love THIS song. And THIS one. He sounds a tad like Ray LaMontagne, no?

Pinterest Finds.

By now {unless you've been hiding under a rock}....I'm sure you've heard about Pinterest. While I am still a complete AMATEUR at it...still trying to figure it all out....I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a place to store cute ideas.  AND find them!  These two are my top two faves of the week:

Is this not the MOST DARLING way to serve salads at your next get together?  Found on the blog 4 Men  1 Lady, I LOVE it.  Some people are just too darn clever.  I also spied this idea over there as well:

I'm wanting to throw a Milk and Cookies party now just so I can serve these.  Fun! Fun!

I also like to browse Pinterest to find ideas for activities to do with my church girls.  How fun would these be to make?

KOOL-AID lip gloss!  And guess what?  It only requires 2 ingredients.  Vaseline.  And Kool-Aid.  Found over at Meet the Dubiens, they even give you the FREE printables for the labels.  I am in love. Click HERE for more detailed instructions.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coombs August Mix.

My kids like to jam out in the car. {They also like to take pictures of themselves with my camera when no one is looking.  See above}.  The past two trips we've taken on the road, I've made our little family a MIX CD...with songs that EVERYONE can enjoy.  {OK...the kids and I enjoy it most.  But don't let Joe fool you...he really does like some of our teeny bopper stuff.  Even if he won't admit it.}  HERE is our first summer mix.  And what we came up with for our August Mix {road trip to Greer}.  We've pretty much listened to every single song now close to a thousand times.  Even London knows ALL the words.  If you like FUN songs....then you will like these:

1. Tonight Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae
2. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People
3. Don't Wanna Go Home   - Jason DerĂ¼lo
4. The Show Goes On  - Lupe Fiasco
5. Love You Like a Love Song - Selena Gomez & The Scene
6. Replay - Iyaz
7. Fireflies -  Owl City
8. Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
9. We Will Rock You - Queen
10. Shake It Up - Selena Gomez Shake It Up
11. Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz & Ludacris
12. I Gotta Feeling   - The Black Eyed Peas
13. Meet Me Halfway - The Black Eyed Peas
14. Evacuate the Dancefloor  - Cascada
15. It's a Small World -Julie Griffin

#2 is my favorite.  #4 is Joe's favorite.  #7 is Carson's favorite.  #6 is Grant's favorite.  And yes...#15 is London's favorite. 

An Apple a day...

I love these two cute ideas for Back to School teacher gifts.  

Amanda over at Shindig Parties to Go has made THE MOST adorable Apple Oreo pops! She even gives you step-by-step instructions WITH pictures!  I love that there's a pretzel used as the stem!  So super clever.  Click HERE for more details.

And then there are these DARLING Apple Rice Krispy Treats found over at Gourmet Mom-on-the-Go. Over here, they use a TOOTSIE roll as a stem.  How fun is that?  Click HERE for directions!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mini Muffin holder.


Who knew an egg carton was the very perfect size for mini muffins? My friend Sheri tagged me on pinterest with this idea.  She knows me all too well.  I'm thinking you could dress up the egg carton for just about any holiday or any special occasion.

Earth Day Gift

Idea found on the Fiskars website HERE.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3 Tasty Recipes.

I always look this graceful when I cook.  I promise.

You must know that.....any recipe I post on my mouth watering delicious.  I try a lot of recipes, believe me I do....but I insist on only posting the YUMMIEST of the YUMMIEST.  Which is why I must share with you these 3 favorites {served last night at my activity}. The tacos and salsa are a family favorite.  The cupcakes were a new recipe given to me by my sister via the blog Glorious Treats. {You should really check their blog out.  The entire thing is oodles of yummy recipes!} Enjoy!

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
Soooo easy!

4-6 frozen chicken breasts
1 jar of red salsa
1 jar of green salsa
4 fresh limes
2 teaspoons of minced garlic

Place chicken breasts in crock pot.  Slice limes in half and squeeze the juices out of all four of them...directly on top of the chicken. Add garlic.  Then dump both jars of salsa on top.  Cover and cook on low all day.  Shred right before serving and mix in some salt and pepper.

Green Salsa
1 28 oz. can of whole green tomatillos {if you live in AZ, I can always find these at Frys.  Nowhere else}.
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 a yellow OR white onion
1/4 cup sugar
1 bunch of cilantro...stems and all

Dump everything in a blender or food processor and blend.  It sets up when it's refrigerated {kind of gel-like} so just stir before serving.  

* I don't like super spicy salsa and so I slice my jalapeno in half and then scoop out the seeds.  

Pineapple Cupcakes
(recipe by Glory Albin)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)

1.  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until slightly thickened and a light cream color (about 2 minutes).
3.  On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended.
4.  Add in the pineapple and sour cream and mix until fully incorporated.
5.  Add the flour mixture and blend until just combined and smooth.
6.  Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners and fill about 2/3 full.
7.  Bake cupcakes in a pre-heated 350*F oven for about 22 minutes.
8.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
9.  Frost with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Recipe yields 24-28 cupcakes.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoons) butter, at room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract (you may want to start with just 1 teaspoon of coconut extract, you can always add more, but you can't take it out!)
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon heavy cream, heavy whipping cream or milk 
1 Tablespoon Dark Rum

*Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.
*Add vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
*Slowly add the heavy cream or rum.
*Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
*Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

For added flavor and texture, top frosted cupcakes with toasted coconut
(To toast coconut- lay about 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 375*F about 4-5 minutes).

Decorate cupcakes with fresh pineapple, maraschino cherries or paper umbrellas.  

Linking up to Tatertots and Jello.

Scripture Cookies.

*Good news: I've updated this post with FREE printables for the recipe and quiz HERE.

Pina Colada Cupcakes - pineapple flavor with coconut cream cheese frosting!

Last night I had my cute Laurels {the 16 to 18 year old girls in my church} over to my house for a little recipe/cooking night.  Each girl was asked to bring FIVE recipes and then....make ONE of those recipes and bring it to share.  We had quite the little feast!  

Because I'm {slightly} obsessed with handouts/favors...I made these up for each of the girls:

Scripture Cookies: The idea is to look up the scriptures given, for the ingredients needed to make this recipe.  {Hint: they are yummy oatmeal raisin cookies}.  I challenged them each to go home, figure out the answers, and make up a batch.

I'm also {kinda} obsessed with quizzes....which is why I couldn't resist making up a little 'Coombs Cooking Quiz'.  I was curious to see just how much the girls knew about cooking.

I served crock-pot chicken tacos, green tomatillo salsa and these super yummy cupcakes.  Recipes will follow in my next post.  You really should try em too.  They are all TASTY!

Loving my calling.  How lucky AM I to get to work with THESE cute girls?  {We missed you Alyssa, Brianna and Mallory!}

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coombs Family Fun in the Mountains.

This past weekend we escaped the intense heat of Chandler and headed to one of our very favorite places in the AZ mountains.  Greer.   It's nice and cool there.  And green and lush.  And we had ourselves a ball.  We've discovered that anytime we go anywhere with Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Scott...we're guaranteed a good time.  Mainly because Grandma plans fun things for us like:

Hobo Picnics by the lake.  How cute is THIS?

The Candy Tree...

Grandma filled 2 liter bottles for each of the grandkids with candy, flashlights, coloring books, etc.  It was pretty much the coolest surprise ever .  Can you tell?

Bubble Time...

And by BUBBLES...I mean, the kind you blow and the kind you chew.  We were stocked with PLENTY of both!  Just check London's cheeks.

Other highlights from our weekend getaway included:

Fishing!  The boys caught a real live crawdad! 

Riding the Sunrise Ski-Lift...

Roasting S'mores....

{We discovered a new perfect combo for our s'mores....Reese's PB cups instead of Hershey's}. Try it.  You can thank me later.

And hanging out with smothering Baby June 24-7....


Thank you Grandma Marilyn for planning such a FUN FILLED weekend.  Now that we're home....we're already bored.  Can we come over?  I'm sure you're not tired after all of this...{Wink!}