Sunday, September 30, 2012

M-I-C-K-E-Y


We're headed to the Happiest Place on Earth on this week.
I might be just as if not MORE excited than my kids.

I'll be back with MORE tips and MORE people watching pics I'm sure!
To see past TRIPS, TIPS and TRICKS of Disneyland click HERE, HERE,HERE.

General Conference Motivator.


I love giving my Young Women incentives to:

a) Watch General Conference
and
b) Work on Personal Progress

Since General Conference is NEXT WEEK...we're handing these out today...



For a free download of this handout click HERE.

I also handed out a copy of THIS so that the girls could actually get started with one of their value projects.  Now...they have NO excuses.  {Smile}.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Cupcakes.


Well....not really in AZ quite yet.  Still in the 90s. But we'll take it.  Hope is on the horizon.

Today Carson's class had an APPLE themed party.
{They've been studying about all things APPLES this week}.

The party was also a FUN excuse way to kick off FALL BREAK.
{They get 2 1/2 weeks off now...wahoo!}

I told the teacher I would be in charge of the treats and these are what I came up with:



Super duper easy.  If you've  never used 'sanding sugar' before...you need to try it.
It's one of my very favorite cupcake products.

And in case you're interested...the APPLE party consisted of 4 stations:

1. Bobbing for apples. {If Carson gets the flu now I'll know why. Smile.}

2. Dipping caramel apples and coating them in sprinkles.

3. Apple painting.

4. Making apple sunglasses.

Have I told you how much I love the boys' teachers?  'Cause I do.

Happy Fall Break!!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Apples and Peach Cobbler.

True Fact. I can't eat fresh apples OR peaches.
I'm allergic to em.
Like...have to go to the ER allergic.

It always makes me ex-pecially sad this time of year.
Lucky for me though....I can eat them if they're cooked.
Like Apple Pie, Peach Cobbler, Apple tart...you get the jist.

I was going through my 'fall' archive the other day and came across this little APPLE gift that I handed out to some of my favorite peeps last year. It was SO easy to do that I felt the need to re-share.


For more pictures and deets...click HERE.

P.S. Apples are on sale at Basha's {local peeps} for 77 cents a pound.

A couple of weekends ago we went over to a friend's house for dinner.
My cute friend Courtney brought the most delicious Peach Cobbler {Joe's favorite}for dessert.
We drooled over it.  It was that good.
She shared the recipe with me, I made it up tonight and this is definitely blog worthy material people.
We ate so much that Joe and I both now feel sick to our stomachs.
It was soooo good.  Especially with 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice-cream.

It's called Southern Peach Cobbler and you can find it HERE.

Photo via All Recipes


Monday, September 24, 2012

This weekend we:

...spent some time in Greer, AZ with Joe's side of the family.

It was everything I had anticipated.  And more. 
{The 70ish degree weather was B-L-I-S-S!}

Here are some of our very favorite things about the trip:


Grandma Marilyn's Nightly Devotionals

Every  night before bed, Grandma Marilyn had a special thought to share with us and a FUN surprise to give the kids.  One night she told the story of how her dad shot a bear while they were up in Greer...and the bullet went through one ear and out the other.  My kids have never been so attentive!  She gave them stuffed bears to remember the memory with.


Fishing at the Lake

The boys caught a real live crawdad.  It was gross.  And I don't quite understand how people in the south eat those.


The Game Room

The cabin that we stayed in was deluxe.  We each had our own room and off to the side of the kitchen was a gigantic game room with: a pool table, air hockey table, ping pong and video arcade system. The boys were in heaven. And I {almost} beat my husband in a mean game of air hockey. Almost.


Toy Cap Guns

Grandma surprised the kids one afternoon with toy cap guns.
It was hours of entertainment.


Feeding the Ducks at the Pond


Matching Family T-shirts

Joe's ever so talented sister Jenny designed matching t-shirts for all of us.
Everyone LOVED wearing them.  Except for London.  
Because they weren't pink. Or sparkly.
Go figure.


Spending time with the Coombs Cousins


Spending time with 
Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Scott



Celebrating Uncle Will's Birthday

We LOVE Uncle Will.  And HE loves cheeseburgers.
Hence..the attractive CHEESEBURGER shirt we gave him as a present.
{If you feel so inclined to buy one for yourself, you can find them at...
Wal-mart. Don't be jealous}.


Grant didn't stop laughing the ENTIRE weekend so long as Will was around.



Our family had a blast.
Thank you Marilyn and Scott for inviting us, planning it, and putting up with us!!

Memories were made and we are forever grateful!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Leadership and Pumpkins.

Last night I held a leadership meeting at my house for all of my cute Young Womens leaders.

Tis the season for all things PUMPKINS.....
so that was the 'theme' for the evening.


I handed out these pumpkins to each leader.  
LOVE the analogy...found it online.
We talked about how it's OUR job as leaders to help the girls see HIS LIGHT and SHINE.


We noshed on PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS and 

Both yummy.
Both were my breakfast this morning.


I have a problem with people leaving my house empty  handed.
Which is why I sent them each home with a 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcake.

I had high hopes of making these myself but...I ran outta time.
I picked them up from my very favorite cupcake store in town HERE.

Grateful for amazing leaders that I get to work with each week.
Blessed indeed.

***************************************

Off now to relax in the mountains for the weekend.
Family time.
Cooler temps.
Can't wait.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This weekend:

* Joe attended 'Donuts for Dudes' with the boys at their school.
We LOVE the kids' school.
Such a great place!

* One of my besties had a birthday.
We helped her celebrate with lunch at Joe's Farm Grill.
Her husband ordered a singing telegram {of sorts} to show up.


Needless to say...it was a BIRTHDAY LUNCH to remember.
{Smile}.

* We went over to some fun friends' house for PIZZA night.
Barros + Diet Coke + Homemade peach cobbler + lots o' laughs =
A Friday night FULL o' FUN.
Thanks Andersons for hosting.
{Courtney...I want your cobbler recipe!}

* Sports season for the boys has officially begun.

Carson had his first ever soccer game.
Grant had his first ever flag football game.

It's going to be a FUN {but BUSY!} season for this family!!

* Recipe/Dinner Club at another fun friend's house on Sat. night.
Thank you Damron's for hosting!!

The theme was NAVAJO night and we were treated to homemade Navajo tacos.
Not to mention: homemade black bean dip and yummy Oreo dessert.
{I'll post recipes soon.  They were Ah-MaZing!}

So fun to get together with our 'gang' and visit.
Sometimes we go weeks...months...without seeing each other and it's as if we've never even missed a beat! We love you Recipe Club-ers!!

* Churchey=church.
Taught THIS lesson to my sweet Laurels.

*3 hour Sunday afternoon nap.
It was un-interuppted and it.  was.  bliss.
Just what I needed.

* Crock Pot Beef Stew for dinner with biscuits.
{Another recipe I must share soon!}

* An hour full of AFV to end the weekend right.

We LOVE our WEEKENDS together as a FAMILY.
Wouldn't change it for the world.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church Lesson: Worthy Thoughts.


Today I taught my cute young women from Manual 1- Lesson: 34 on

I know I say this all the time....but what a powerful lesson!
It's based around a talk from Boyd K. Packer and it focuses on the importance of GOOD music in our lives.

"A wise man once said, ‘Music is one of the most forceful instruments for governing the mind.’ Whether it governs in a positive way or a negative way is determined by what it brings onto the stage of your mind. If you can say that a song is spiritually inspiring or that it urges you to see yourself in a more noble perspective, the music is worthwhile. If it merely entertains or lifts your spirits, then it also has a useful place. But if it makes you want to respond in a carnal, sensual way or to consider unrighteous desires, then that music should be avoided. It is not worthy."


I also included in my lesson, a story from the New Era called
by Jack  R. Christianson

 My handout was based around this little story and it pushed across the point VERY well.



If you'd like a copy of my handout you can download the file for free HERE.

I also made up a 'mix cd' with 10 different songs on it.
These songs ranged from rap, classical, hymns, heavy metal, etc.
I played the first 10 seconds of each song and had the girls write down how that particular song made them FEEL. We then went around and discussed how beats, words and rhythms all effect whether a song can be UPLIFTING or not.  I also included some POSITIVE pop songs to drive home the idea that POSITIVE UPLIFTING music doesn't necessarily have to JUST be hymns and such.  There CAN BE positive songs on the radio...we just had to distinguish which were which. 

{If you'd like me to email you a list of the 10 songs I played, please feel free to comment on this post with your email address}.

*********************************************************************************
Here's a little tip:

The carmel apples I used were purchased from Wal-Mart for 98 cents!
Bargain, right??



You can find them in the produce section right next to the apples.

I had high hopes of making up my own but here's the problem.
I have YET to find a recipe for dipped caramel apples that DOESN'T involve ALL of the caramel drooping to the bottom of the apple. My caramel apples just NEVER seem to turn out 'pretty'. 

If you have a TIP to making GOOD ones...please enlighten me!



Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Cake You Must Try.


It's time for me to share one of my very favorite cake recipes.
It's full o' flavor AND super easy.
{Two things I adore!}

I made it last month for my mom's birthday.
{She LOVES anything with Heath bar topping}.

I discovered that the longer this cake sets in the fridge...the yummier it gets.  So my advice to YOU would be to make it up the night BEFORE you plan on serving it.

1 package chocolate cake mix 
{Devils Food, German Chocolate...any kind will do.}
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 jar of caramel ice-cream topping
1 tub of cool whip
Heath bar topping ... 
basically with this part...you could chop up ANY type of candy bar and sprinkle it on top.  The MORE the BETTER! The next time I make this...I'm trying SNICKERS.

Bake cake according to package in a 9x13 pan.
Let cool completely.

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all throughout the cake.Slowly pour sweetened condensed milk over the cake, letting it sink into the holes; then drizzle the caramel topping over that.  Top with cool whip and candy bar and then set in fridge until time to serve!

Your hips can thank me later for this one.

{Wink!}

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall inspiration I LOVE.

I've burned my Pumpkin Pie candle now three days in a row.
It makes me happy.  And it makes me secretly believe that it feels like fall outside.

I.  Love.  Fall.
Everything about it.
The smell in the air.
The change in the weather.
Pumpkin patches.
My birthday just so happens to fall...in fall.
The FLAVOR of pumpkin in EVERYTHING.
Nights getting dark by 5:30.

My list could seriously go on and on a mile long.
Here's some FALL eye candy for you to enjoy from
{I always drool a little when I get their holiday/seasonal issues.}

I am LOVE LOVE LOVING white pumpkins this season....

Bittersweet Pumpkin Centerpiece



White Pumpkin Wreath Centerpiece


Fall Gourd Vase

LOVE the idea of hallowing out gourds and pumpkins to use as a vase!


Row of Pumpkins



Fall Leaves in Beakers

LOVE the simplicity of a single leaf in a tall thin vase.  Wish I had access to all of the trees that surrounded me back in Virginia growing up.  I miss them.  And their smell.  And their beauty.


Monday, September 10, 2012

This Weekend:

*It poured down rain on Friday.
It was PER-FECT!
It actually felt a tad bit like FALL.
{Yes...99 degrees IS the start of fall for us.}
We were GIDDY with EXCITEMENT for the 'nip' in the air.

* I made up some more loaves of THIS.

*Joe and I went out on date night for dinner HERE.
We LOVE this place.
We LOVE eating inside and ordering steak when the weather is HOT...
and we LOVE taking the kids when the weather is nice and eating outside.
{Tip: Bring your own stuff to roast marshmallows after dinner.}
It's really a FUN place!

*Dessert HERE.
Hands down, they have the BEST mint chocolate chip ice-cream EVER.

* Took some of my cute young women out to breakfast on Saturday morning.
They were being rewarded for accomplishing THIS challenge.
So proud of them. Such good examples they are.

*Helped out with a friend's Eagle Scout project at the church.

*Took the boys to a birthday party at 


How is it that the chins-iest prizes from all those tickets...excite them SO VERY MUCH?!?
They were on cloud 9.

* Chores and relaxing.
{I managed to fit in a 2 hour nap-a-roo}.

*Dinner and Ice-cream with the fam at 


*Churchey-Church.

*Meetings-meetings.

*Sunday dinner at my mom and dad's.
My mom makes THE BEST pot roast and mashed potatoes ever.
No matter HOW HARD I try...mine will NEVER be as good as hers.

*We ended the weekend by Carson losing a tooth!

Doesn't get much better than that!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Media Lesson handout.

Today I made up some handouts for lesson #33:
Avoiding Degrading Media Influences.

My cute advisor taught the lesson and it was SO relevant to our young women.
They are bombarded these days it seems, with media influences....
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Myspace....

So much media can be POSITIVE and USEFUL,
while others can be DEGRADING and HARMFUL to our minds.


I found these cute 'treasure boxes' at Hobby Lobby in the party section.
A package of 8 for $1.99. {Cheaper than that if you have your coupon!}

The lesson talks about the symbolism of the SKULL and CROSSBONES so I put that quote on the back of the box with a strip of ribbon.


And since I can't seem to make a handout without a good pun....here's what I FILLED the boxes with...






 *************************************

My 2 counselors were in charge of teaching their own classes with this same lesson and I HAD to share what their handouts were as well {because they were adorable!} so I snapped a couple of quick pics.


She filled a cute cup with candy and made it look like a 'garbage can' to go along with this quote:

"Do not make your mind a dumping ground for other people's garbage."
-President Ezra Taft Benson


My other counselor printed out these cute bookmarks from Sugardoodle and handed out ice-cream sandwiches to go along with them.

It's hard to see...but that ice-cream sundae pictured, has a big ole black bug in it.

The quote reads:
"It's great except for....the bad parts.
What kinds of movies & music are you feeding your mind"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Family Movie Reviews.


Our little family is a BIG movie going troop.
We loooooove going to the movies.
It's one of our very favorite things.

We recently saw two family flicks that I feel the need to give 'reviews' on. 
{I always like knowing what other people think of kids movies before WE see 'em....which is why I'm sharing my 2 cents with YOU!}


My boys LOVED this movie.
{They love anything having to do with zombies right now}.

I however...would not recommend it. Personally.

Here's why.....

*It's incredibly 'scary' for the younger crowd. I'm super glad London wasn't with us on this one because we for sure would've had to wait out in the hall after the first 5 minutes.

*It says words like:  hell, jackass and wiener.  More than just once.

*It tries to be funny for the adults...but it just has things in it that are un-necessary.

The tricky part is that it's rated PG. So you think it's all fine and dandy. 
But would I recommend it to a BFF?  
Nope.


We just saw this one on Labor Day...and it was SUPER sweet.
Cute story.
Cute actors. 
{How can you NOT love Jennifer Garner?}
Cut moral.

However......it is a TAD slow for the younger audience.
London and Carson were {sorta} bored with it half way through.
My recommendation is for 7 year olds and up.

Two movies that we are SUPER excited to come out:


This comes out in October and looks like the perfect 'kid friendly' Halloween movie.


The kids wanna see this one for two reasons:

1. They have a grandpa 'Ralph' and have already requested to see it with him.

2. It looks incredibly hilarious.

An added bonus is that it includes the voices of:

John C. Reilly
Jack McBrayer
Jane Lynch
Adam Carolla
Horatio Sanz
Mindy Kaling

****************************************

{Now...if there was just a GOOD movie out for Joe and I to see tonight on date night....}

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Wednesday {posted on Thursday}.

Never too young for some business in the front and PARTY in the BACK.

* Why is Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" still...to this day...one of my very favorite songs? Ever? As I listen to it now that I'm older I realize...there's literally nothing to that song EXCEPT a synthesizer. Thats it.  Why do we all love it so much?  And for as long as I live...whenever I hear it..it will ALWAYS remind me of the episode of the Cosby Show when Stevie made an appearance.  Jammin on the one, jammin on the one...anyone??

* Fresh green chili hatches are in season and on sale pretty much EVERYWHERE here in AZ right now.  I LOVE the taste of them but here's the problem.  I have zero recipes for anything with them.  How do YOU use them? Does anyone have any they'd like to share?? Pretty please?

* Why, when we go out in public without any makeup on, do we feel the need to explain ourselves to anyone we run into...as to why we look so shady? {For the record...I go out in public A LOT without getting ready for the day.  It's just how I roll.  I figure people who KNOW me...KNOW that I CAN get ready when I want to. Smile.}  Why though...do we need to explain to our peers when we 'bump' into them...why we didn't seem to get our act together enough to shower and put on foundation?  We really shouldn't have to, right?  But we feel the need to.  Which is why I've {sorta} adopted the motto of: TAKE ME AS I AM. {Right?}

* Joe and I have a new guilty pleasure.  Her name starts with HONEY and ends with BOO BOO.  Have you seen this SHOW?? It's a train wreck that we just can't seem to turn away from!!! We literally sat in bed the other night laughing hysterically at some of the episodes. 

* I've been occupying Hobby Lobby a lot lately. {Have you seen their Halloween stuff?? I'm waiting for their 40% off sale to start on all of it so I can snag some of their decor.  It's all AH-doRable!} Whenever I'm in there though and I see a dude shopping in there, by himself, I get the giggles.  NOT THAT THERES ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT....because I'm all for crafty Men! Maybe it's just because my own husband would rather eat his own toenails than step foot in there.  ESPECIALLY without me.

* Something else I get the giggles at? {It doesn't take much people..} When I see a house with a FOR SALE sign in front that says "I'm Beautiful Inside".  Really??  How are people supposed to believe that?  Because I'm pretty sure that if the place were trashed inside and smelled like boogers, there wouldn't be a sign that read...."I look HORRIBLE inside and I'm going to need A LOT of work and upgrades done...but enter at your own risk".  I mean, really??

* Has anyone ever 'claimed an offer' on FB and had it really work?  I see these things pop up ALL THE TIME with friends claiming this or that....but the one time I tried to 'claim' something...it didn't work.  Am I in the dark on this or something?

* Why do girls find the need to wear sweatpants with words written across their rear end.  I know some girls are more proud of their bums than others...but do we really need to see that your butt is PINK....or that you have lots of LOVE in your trunk?  I'm just gonna throw it out there that this trend needs to stop.  Because most of the girls wearing these pants...shouldn't.

* Justin Beiber is coming to town in 3 weeks and I'm still holding out hope that I can get myself  the boys and I tickets.  {Say... I only could get my hands on ONE ticket.  Would I be a creeper mom if I went by myself?  Don't answer that please. Desperate times call for desperate measures.}


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zucchini 'Bikini' Bread.



I'm not sure why...but we can't say the word 'ZUCCHINI' in our house without a following 'BIKINI' behind it. It just sticks.

Since it's officially FALL now {in my book at least}...I decided I wanted to to whip up some Zucchini BIKINI BREAD for some of my cute friends.  
{Fall and Zucchini go hand in hand, right?} 

Warning:  This recipe is ESPECIALLY good.  Like I could have a slice for breakfast...lunch...and dinner.  It COULD be because it calls for 3 teaspoons of vanilla and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.  
It gives it that extra dose of delicious-ness.  


When I was ready to deliver the bread...I wrapped a few loaves up in some brown kraft paper, whipped on a bow, and printed out these cute fall tags from It Is What It Is.

 Free Printable Tag Courtesy of  It Is What It Is
Make some tonight.
Zucchini's are on sale if you live locally.

Zucchini BIKINI Bread

3 eggs - beat until light
1 c. oil
2 c. sugar
2 c. grated zucchini
3 tsp. vanilla

Mix all together and then add:

1/4 tsp. baking powder
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. cinnamon

Beat together and then stir in however many chocolate chips you please. 
{The chocolate chips are a MUST people}. 

Put in 2 greased bread pans and bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

*To give you an idea of how many zucchinis you'll need...I grated 4 whole ones and I was able to double my recipe.  Out of that I got: 3 large loaves and 4 small loaves.