Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Lights Events

Here in Utah there are many places where you can see Christmas lights. 
The most famous is Temple Square in Salt Lake City. 

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Farther South is the Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork

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Salem Pond is a sight to behold!

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Thanksgiving Point has some beautiful lights you can see from your car as you drive through the Christmas wonderland!

But everyone agrees

that the very best


is the yearly

lighting of

the walnut tree!

I bet you thought that tree was only good for walnuts!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We had only  9 people for dinner.  Everyone else had other places to go.  Do you think it was the cranberries?
It's quiet here at the house tonight and I have time to reflect.   I have a wonderful husband with a great sense of humor and an abundance of patience.  I have children and grandchildren who light up my life.  My parents are in relatively good health and they have been great examples to me.  I have good friends.  I have the gospel of Jesus Christ.  My life is full.  I have trials.  I have weaknesses.  I am blessed beyond measure.
This truly is a day of Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who Likes Cranberries?

Not me!! 
I have learned to like them a little better than I used to.   I got this recipe for cranbery sauce from my aunt and it is super good!  Cranberries aren't that bad after all!  I thought I'd share it with you just in case you want this on your Thanksgiving turkey!

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of fresh cranberries. 
 1 orange - washed, cut into eighths (Do not peel)
2 apples peeled, cored and sliced

Place in a food processor and chop until the desired consistency.

Place fruit in a large pan and add 1 cup sugar for every cup of fruit.  I got 5 cups of fruit so I added 5 cups of sugar.  (No wonder I like it so much AND I was making this while watching Biggest Loser!)  Heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.

This made more cranberry sauce than I'll use for Thanksgiving but it will store in the refrigerator for a month!

This has a citrusy, tangy, and sweet taste!  It can also be used in a Jello salad.  Add it to the cranberry or orange flavored jello.  Put it on a turkey sandwich or run some over to your neighbors!.  They'll love it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twist on an Old Favorite and Dumpster Diving

It' has been said that "necessity is the mother of invention".  This isn't an invention but this is what I did when I didn't have all the ingredients necessary for the 7 layer bars I wanted to make.  Here is the recipe:

1 stick melted butter
1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/3 cups coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Mix butter and crackers together and press in bottom of 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle choc chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and walnuts on top of crackers.  Drizzle milk on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I had all the ingredients except the graham crackers!  However, I DID have Club Crackers.

So I used them instead of graham.  The results were delicious!  It was still very sweet but had just a little bit of salty too.

While I was preparing this fresh, delicious dessert, my sons had to run an errand.  On their way home, they stopped at the local Hostess dumpster.  Wearing slacks, shirt and tie, they dove in to score their OWN version of dessert.

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They arrived home, laden with these expired, dry, treasures and excited that the earliest expiration date was only November 15th!

The finer things in life ARE free!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I've known many people who are addicted to one thing or another;  tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs and even caffeine.  (I thought that I might have an addiction to chocolate, but I can go several hours without must be OK, right?)  I would look at these people with a feeling of deep sorrow for their bondage and maybe, just maybe, a self-righteous feeling that I didn't have their problem.

I discovered this drink at Costco that reminds me of Crystal Light. It has no sugar, 3 grams of fiber and 15 calories a serving.  I thought it would be good to take to work.  Every morning I get a large plastic water bottle, fill it with ice and water and add a packet of the powder.

I didn't realize how much I depended on this drink until the morning I got up, made it, then forgot to grab it.
A few blocks from work, I glanced lovingly down at the cup holder in my car and THAT'S when I realized I had forgotten it on the kitchen counter!  My mouth got dry, my throat closed off, my heart raced and I started to sweat!  What was I going to do?  I thought of turning around, going back home to get it, and being a half hour late for work - but with tears running down my face, (a slight exaggeration) I forged ahead, knowing that I wouldn't survive the day without it! 
Is it possible to be addicted to fiber?  Maybe it's time to read the fine print on the box!

Do you have an addiction you want to confess?  I hear it's good for the soul!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Parable of the Walnuts or How many times can you say "walnut" in the same post?

When we moved into our home, 7 years ago, we inherited this HUGE walnut tree filled with walnuts. We had never experienced walnuts in any other way than to buy them in the store, so this was a new experience.  Andy improved his juggling skills, the kids found a great climbing tree, we and the neighbors have shade all day.

Something we noticed about those hardy nuts is, they're triple protected as they grow.   The leaves on the walnut tree are large and plentiful.  Not only are WE shaded but so are the walnuts as they nestle under those leaves. There is a green husk around the walnut that splits when it's time to harvest. We also found out that if you remove the husk with your bare hands, you have walnut colored hands for weeks! Then, after allowing the walnuts to dry for a week, the shell needs to be cracked to get to the meat.  

Andy patiently gathers, shucks and cracks all the walnuts.  It helps to have a good movie playing while cracking. 

We like to vacuum seal the nuts to keep them fresh for a longer period of time.  And besides, a walnut brick, with 5 cups of walnut halves, is kind of fun!  So far, we have 23 bricks!

There you have the parable of the walnuts at OUR house.

So...if my neighbors don't want apricot jam, popcorn, OR grape jelly, maybe a walnut brick would be welcomed!  
Have a wonderful, nutty day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When a 2-year-old has the camera!

C8 has been living with us since she was 2 months old.

Like most 2-year-olds she's a busy girl and loves to be involved.

When she gets a camera, she knows how to capture the best in everyone!

It's with mixed emotions that I tell you that these little girls and their mom are moving out of our house and into their own home.

Life isn't always what we expect it to be. 

Luckily, when life hands us lemons, we have those who love us to help make lemonade.

Then we get to the point where we can provide the cupcakes! 

I'll miss seeing these beautiful girls every day! But we'll get 2 bedrooms back!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Convenience Foods

I like convenience when it comes to cooking dinner.  I have found some convenience foods that really help out when I get home from work hungry, tired and basically lazy!  Some people might think this looks like food storage but I beg to differ...
Today's fast food features hamburger!

I found extra lean ground beef for $1.69 a pound.  I bought 17 pounds, brought it home, and browned it in 3 different frying pans.  When it was browned through, but not too brown, I rinsed it with hot water to remove most of the grease.  I packed it tightly into pint jars, added hot water, a couple dashes of salt and put on the lids and rings.

It needs to be processed in a pressure canner at 15# for 65 minutes.  I got it started, told my hubby what to watch for, then went to the movie with daughter and grandkids.  (I think my next post will be on how to strengthen your marriage!)  I (we) got 16 pints.  It can be used in soups, enchiladas, sloppy joes, casseroles, chili, or anything that calls for a pound of ground beef.  Just drain off the water.  How convenient is that?

Speaking of movies...we saw Disney's "A Christmas Carol." I recommend it - but there are some scenes that scared the 2-year-old and other scenes that didn't keep the attention of the 4-year-old. Maybe I should have just gone with Andy!  But then, who would have finished the hamburger?

Keep a smile on your face and have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Honor....

This day we honor our veterans: the brave, the strong, the determined, the freedom fighters - because freedom isn't free!

        My Grandfather (Frank Travis)       

My Dad (Bill Travis)

This is the new generation of soldiers: handsome, determined, brave, sons, brothers. Many will be away from home and family during the holidays.   

Pvc Jordan Travis Langston with sister, Camille - trying to look "Army tough".

Mr. Cy, not looking tough at all, just cute!

My thanks to all who sacrifice their time, their comfort and even their lives to preserve our freedoms.  Let us remember and honor them! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


(Drum roll, please)

Lorie has won a Button Boutique design! 

Brenda has won the LOVE bracelet from amysbasketdesigns!

Natalie has won a print from the Gumball Grenade!

Gigi has won POPCORN!!

Thanks to all of you for entering the giveaway!  For those of you who didn't win....

...there's always next time!

Giveaway - Reminder!

Today is the last day to sign up for the giveaway!

Don't be late!  It ends at 10:00 tonight!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I was picked!

Sondra, from Happy Clean Living, gave me this fun award!  This award is "gifted to blogs that are encouraging, inspiring, or brilliant."  (Please don't laugh)  I feel honored that Sondra felt that I deserved this. Thank you, Sondra

 The rules of accepting and sharing this award are:

*Thank the person who gave the award and link to their blog. Thanks again, Sondra!!
*Share "10 Honest Things" about yourself.
1. I don't color my hair any more!  I know, everyone's surprised that the lovely silver color doesn't come from a bottle! ;D
2. I got braces off my teeth 2 days before my first grandchild was born (7 years ago)
3. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon)
4. I'm not very organized.  My husband, bless his heart (not rest his soul) is very organized.  He is patient with me and we seem to even each other out!
5.  I love music!  I took piano lessons when my children did.  I can't play very well but it was fun to learn right along with the kids.  I'm always singing (just ask my poor lucky kids)
6.  I love Christmas music and don't mind hearing it year round.
7.  I took 2 years of French in Junior High and tell my children that I'm fluent in Francais!  N'est ce pas?
8.  My parents have been married for 60 years and they're great examples of love, forgiveness, generosity and devotion.
9.  I like bottling food for my family and being prepared for anything that might come along; lost income, pandemic, natural disaster, or just plain "what do I fix for dinner tonight?"  It feels good when it's done and on the shelves.  It's more fun when I'm working with my girls!
10. I love my job in the school district, working in special ed, but secretly would like to quit and stay at home to help my children with grandkids, help my parents, or just take a nap during the day!

*Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find encouraging, inspiring, or brilliant. 
*Contact the bloggers and inform them they have received this award.

The blogs I read are ALL deserving of this award!  Why would I read them if they weren't inspiring, encouraging or brilliant?  I know Sondra gave this award to some of the same that I was thinking of so - I'll spread the wealth. 

Here are the 7 bloggers I present this award to..or is it - to whom I present this award.

*Valerie at All the Pieces of Me!  I absolutely love Valerie!  Not only does she have an awesome blog, but she's kind, a good mom, a good friend, has a great sense of humor and is creative!

*I just found Brenda at Nevitt News but I knew her years ago.  She tended my children when we first moved to Arizona.  Her blog is a hoot to read!  She has inspired me with her weight loss.

*KC at Grandma's Desserts has some great recipes.  I even found one of mine for zucchini brownies on her blog! Yes, she gave me credit.

*Tammy, from Nana's Kitchen, makes me laugh, tells a good story, gives good recipes and has adorable grandchildren!

*Heffalump at I Blog About Nothing has some thought provoking posts, beautiful pictures and fun, creative ideas.

*Camille at Make It Work Mom has an awesome blog with great ideas for activities with kids, local events, recipes, and ideas on how to handle a household and work...whether it's outside the home or being a SAHM, everyone needs ideas and encouragment.

*Jill at Jill's Words, has a great sense of humor, and adorable children.  She's going to school and is a mom and wife.  Her every day life is told with humor and honesty. She makes me laugh!

Please don't accuse me of nepotism.  The last two are my daughters.  I know if I was to give this award to some other wonderful, inspirational, brilliant people, they would not appreciate the work involved because they're so busy!  My daughters are used to me giving them work and besides, their blogs fit the bill for this award!

Sondra, thanks for picking me!

Speaking of picking...if you haven't signed up for my giveaway yet.  Hurry on over...You might be picked to win!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spotlight on Utah....Giveaway!

It's good to support your local merchants.  Since I live in Utah, I have found 3 wonderfully talented women that I want to spotlight.  They all have an Etsy shop and are creative AND generous because each of them will give a lucky winner one of their fantastic handmade items!

First: Tanya Newberry is the owner of Gumball Grenade.  She is a single mom of two beautiful little girls. She has degrees in both Social Work and English, but find her heart is happiest when creating something.

She loves working with pencil, charcoal, acrylic, watercolors, PMC / Art Clay, and paper! She has two etsy shops, one that has a focus on fables and folklore called Fables and

and her Gumball Grenade shop which features two little happy souls running around in their night time pj's! Tanya says, "Little dreamers are my focus! Childhood imagination is priceless and should be cherished!"

  Tanya will give a lucky reader one of her whimsical prints of their choice.
Go to her etsy shop and view her charming prints.  In a comment, tell me which one you like best.

Second: Elizabeth from mybuttonboutique has adorable button creations.

She has hand mirrors,

Zipper pulls

 button earrings,

bobby pins...and more!
Even better - these delightful button creations are VERY AFFORDABLE - AND - right now, Elizabeth is having a sale!  Buy two items, get one free!  These are perfect gifts for stocking stuffers, visiting teaching, nieces, sisters, mothers, friends and yourself!  If you live in the Ogden area, you'll want to go to Mindy Mae Market in Pleasant View this weekend. Elizabeth will be having a sale (everything will be $2.00 or less)

OK, back to the giveaway!  One lucky reader will be able to choose an item from her shop.  Go here to check it out and in your comment tell me which ones you like best.

Third:  Amy from amysbasketdesigns, has jewelry, visiting teaching kits, scrapbook designs, and more!

Amy has a little girl who thinks she is the boss of her mom and the's funny to see how much they are alike. She is 4 and truly is a mini-me.

Some of Amy's hobbies are playing the piano, crafting (of course), and playing some BEATLES rock band. (Rock band was purchased by Santa last year and has been the best gift ever!!)

Since she was a little girl, she often would try to sell homemade items off of her parents porch. Amy says, "I'd invite the neighbors over and promised the nicely made lemonade (which turned out to be the kool aide lemonade). It was a dream of mine to sell to far off places. I'm excited to say that my kits have been purchased as far as the United Kingdom."

Amy will be giving the LOVE charm bracelet and earrings to one lucky reader! Go to her shop and check out her other delightful creations!

Last but not least: Do you remember this bad boy?

Straight from Grammy's in Perry, Utah! Popcorn on the cob!  One lucky winner will receive 4 cobs to pop and enjoy!
Get the salt and butter ready!'s what you need to do...

Leave a comment and tell me what items you love on the etsy sites - 1 entry
Follow my blog  - 1 entry
Tweet, Face book, or blog about this giveaway  -  1 entry
(please leave a comment for each entry)  I'll use to choose the 4 winners.  This ends Tuesday at 10:00 p.m.  The winners will be announced Wednesday morning.
Good luck to all of you!  Now...let's get commenting!