Friday, December 17, 2010

Hats...& Fruit Leather!

First off, I don't know about you, but I have been feeling very overwhelmed, by the MANY different hats that a mom has to wear.
First there's the wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend HATS.
Then, the clean the house, bake, decorate the house in Christmas cheer, make holiday goodies, attend Christmas programs, etc...HATS,
then that of church callings, plan the Sacrament Meeting Christmas program, visiting teacher, remember everyone's birthdays, write thoughtful thank you notes HATS
and then trying to capture the joy of your kids through photographs, put your house back together, help your hubby with home improvement projects, blogging and email correspondence HATS...and well, the list just keeps going on and on.
(In fact, the joke at Tracy's work has been, when people ask them if they're ready for Christmas..."Yeah, the wife's got that taken care of"! (smile)

Most days lately, when it comes to what hat I'm wearing it is my most favorite thing in the world....
that HAT of being wife and mom!
SO, if you find me not wearing a HAT that you would like me to be wearing, I apologize, but January soon will be here and with that comes
10 days off from work in a row...
life will be organized and my normal routines of what people are used to will be returning in full force!!

Yay... I can honestly say
I miss Kimmie & all of her many hats..can't wait to be wearing them all again!!

HOWEVER, during the busy holiday season, I thought I would take a quick moment to respond to many responses I have had about my Super Saturday Presentation I did last month. My current ward calling (local congregation) is that of
"Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Specialist".
I am responsible for giving monthly info/recipes on anything that goes along with these two topics to the sister's in our ward.

My biggest project this year
for my calling was gathering recipes from the sisters in our ward and typing them and organizing them into a binder. Even though it was more work than I intended it to be, it was such a success and I had many thankful women who are thrilled to have new tried and true recipes to try this next coming year.

I am also required to do a presentation/demonstration at our yearly Super Saturday Relief Society event.
This year, I struggled with what I could share, so I reflected on three of the big things that I learned this summer from our three months of no shopping.
First, I shared that no matter how prepared you are with your food storage, you never have three months worth of Tortillas and so I had dough there to show them how easy it was to roll out and make your own homemade tortillas.
Second, I shared that you never have three months worth of hoagie sandwich or hot dog buns and shared how I made these and even had samples for them to see and taste.

Third....(Finally to the title of this post), I shared that most people don't have a three month supply of fruit snacks or chewy treats for their kids.
SO, I shared one of the favorite things I learned from this to take a jar of applesauce from your food storage and turn it into delicious fruit leather.
I had made a batch
and brought it still on the cookie sheets. I then showed them how it looked after it was done cooking...pulled it off the plastic wrap, put it on a cutting board and put the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture on it, cut it with a pizza cutter into squares, showed how I store it in mason jars lined in waxed paper and they got to enjoy some as well.

You don’t need to have a fancy dehydrator to make fruit leather.

Take 1 quart of applesauce
--Heat on stove until warm (if your applesauce doesn’t have cinnamon in it, you may want to sprinkle on a little when you are heating it up and stir it in)
--Line cookie sheets with plastic wrap making sure to tuck it well around the edges so it doesn’t fold over on to the fruit puree
--pour fruit puree on plastic lined cookie sheet and spread out until it is really thin but make sure pan is evenly coated…about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.
--Place the baking sheet in the oven and try to keep any plastic wrap from touch the sides of the oven or the oven racks. Also try to make sure that the plastic wrap hasn't folded back over on top of the purée. If this happens, the purée won't dry out. Heat the oven as low as it will go. My oven only goes as low as 170 degrees. Let dry in the oven (with door slightly propped) for as long as it takes for the purée to dry out and form fruit leather. I usually do this in the afternoon right after work and it is done before we go to bed, OR, I put in the oven around 6:00 in the evening and let it go all night and it is done by the time we are up in the morning (about 8-12 hours). The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface.
--When the fruit leather is ready, cool completely and then you can easily peel it up from the plastic wrap.
Pull off plastic wrap, spread a cutting board generously with a mixture of part corn starch and part powdered sugar. Coat both sides of the fruit leather well with this mixture…you can’t have too much of this coating on the fruit leather. This preserves it and helps to keep it from sticking together.
--Cut into squares with a pizza cutter. Store in a mason jar lined with waxed paper and seal tightly.
Kids and adults LOVE this chewy, healthy treat!
Great way to have a treat when you are living on your food storage. My kids think this is better than any “Fruit snacks” you can buy at the store.

'Tis the Season to be Jolly!
(AND a little frugal as well)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Many Joyful Moments!

(my favorite quote on Gratitude) 
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ---Melody Beattie


I can’t believe the Christmas season is already upon us
the year truly has just flown on by!  Winter arrived early this year as we have never had so much snow and school closures ever for the week of the Thanksgiving holiday. One of my good friends that is a school teacher that has lived here all of her life, said she has never experienced school getting out because of weather for the Monday-Wednesday before Thanksgiving break. 
Truly unbelievable weather!
Nonetheless, we are embracing the cold and snow and trying to enjoy each moment of it.  I’m afraid winter is here to stay!

Lest we get any further into the month of December, I thought I would share some of the MANY things that brought JOY, Happiness and Gratitude to my life this past month. 
Joy, Happiness and Gratitude are synonymous to me….whatever brings me joy or happiness also brings me much gratitude as well.

Here goes…in no particular order of importance, just some of the things that brought smiles to my face. (I was SO busy helping Tracy get our home back in order and work on remodel projects these past few weeks that I didn’t take many photos at all...especially when we had company over :-(.

--JOY is having my Super Saturday presentation over with and having it have turned out a success (at least that is what people have told me).

--being able to finally cook on real stove and bake in an oven…we made a pot of Ethan’s favorite “Split Pea Soup” and a batch of Tracy’s favorite “Snickerdoodles” for our first home cooked meal!

--the JOY of sitting down together each night at the dinner table and enjoying home cooked meals, talking and discussing our days events.
This truly is the highlight of my every day. love, Love, LOVE this!!

--Enjoying the SNOW as I look out and see a blanket of white instead of seeing all of the weeds I didn’t get pulled before winter came.

(My brother and sister-in-law sent Tracy and I "Life is Good" shirts...
this fits perfectly as my motto in life truly is "Less is more"!!)

--the feeling of gratitude as I get comments and emails from friends, even though I have been terrible at keeping in touch these past few months. These remembrances have meant so much more to me than words can express! I've even received care packages in the mail!!  I am truly blessed beyond measure with wonderful friends and family!

--Enjoying eating bowls of pomegranates over the past week.  We opened and enjoyed the fruit of 8 pomegranates. Yummy!! (Ethan was sad that we went to town over the weekend and couldn't find anymore pomegranates to buy)

--having a “fire to snuggle by” in our house again, as Tracy got our parlor heat stove all hooked up.  It was so cute looking at Ethan laying on the hardwood all snuggled up by it. He has found his new reading spot!

--enjoying Chocolate covered cinnamon bears in the month of November.

--the JOY of my kids faces and their excitement as I made up Spaghetti for dinner. It is one of their favorites and since I am not much of a pasta lover myself, I forget how much they LOVE this!

--Bananagrams!! This game has been one of our best and favorite purchases. You can play a game in less than 5 or 10 minutes and it has been wonderful for helping my kids (Jade especially) with reading and forming words. Can’t wait for many more evenings of this FUN.

--enjoying MUGS of hot water with lots of local honey and fresh squeezed limes to ward off the cough/flu season. We have juiced up over four dozen limes in the past week and have enjoyed each and every mug of this yummy goodness!

--Having my life back so I can “whip up” a pot of soup, baked bread and have a batch of cookies for my kids to enjoy as an afternoon snack when they get off the school bus.  I haven’t been able to do this for so long that it was so much fun to multi-task and make wonderful food creations in the afternoon.

--the JOY of running around in our stocking feet on our newly finished flooring and having “slide contests” to see who can slide the farthest.

--making a pot of Potato Soup for dinner in December and having the potatoes, onions and carrots all be from our garden that we grew this year.  LOVE our garden produce.

--Joy is still enjoying crisp apples off your neighbors tree in December as well.

--It was SO much FUN having Tracy’s brother, sister-in-law and their kids Hudson and Reese over for Sunday dinner… 
LOVE having a kitchen table that can comfortably sit 8 people...
LOVE having friends and family grace our table for dinner!!

--the JOY of having my visiting teachers stop by with sweet little children and having these little children play with the toys that my kids have long forgotten about….also having them bring our gumball machine to me before they leave, so they can put in pennies and leave with some gumballs to enjoy.  
Kids are welcome at our house anytime!

 --My entry window frame 
that holds photos of all of my family and friends that we received Christmas cards/letters from last year. There is not a day that I don’t walk by this and stand and smile at all of the faces smiling back at me.  
I treasure SO very greatly, my relationships and friendships with others!! 

--looking outside at just the right moment to catch the most amazing colors of the day before the sun has completely set and the dark of night sets in.

--sitting in the Rexburg Tabernacle on Thanksgiving day and being able to enjoy the wonderful Thanksgiving Day program. Even though my life was so hectic this year that I wasn’t able to be a part of it, I enjoyed the peace of listening to the beautiful music of the choir and the talent of many of our local youth in their music performances.  Music of all kinds truly feeds my soul!

--snuggling on the couch with my kids and enjoying watching a few episodes of Little House on the Prairie on Sunday evenings after a hectic week of school and work.

--getting to hold my neice Reese all evening while her parents were at a Christmas production. LOVED laying on the couch with her on my chest all snuggled in and also enjoying wonderful conversation with Tracy and his parents. I miss the moments of having little babies and so it was wonderful to have a baby to snuggle with.

--having my Christmas Cards all made up and signed, addressed and in the mail.

--playing “footises” with Mr. Smith as we laughed and watched episodes of our new favorite program “The Big Bang Theory”. LOVE that show.

--Time spent with my sister-in-laws (even though we always don’t see eye to eye on everything…I must add that rinsing out cans before you throw them in the garbage takes just a matter of seconds as it took me 11 seconds from start to finish to rinse out 2 cans as I was making dinner this evening) (big smile at Lisa)

--“mood light” that Mr. Smith has been installing in many rooms of our home. LOVE the warm soft glow that I see as I walk through my house at night.

 I think my most important JOY, Gratitude moments, were when I came down with the flu bad on Monday November 29th and my hubby took the kids to our family birthday party while I stayed home and soaked in a hot Epson Salt bath and then slept from 4:00 in the afternoon until 5:00 the next morning.  That one afternoon made all the difference in the world and I awoke on Tuesday morning feeling like a new woman and able to tackle the rest of the week!!

I am truly blessed with the most wonderful hubby and sons in the world!!

The very TOP of the list though,
was that my hubby didn’t have a serious injury as he stepped off a ladder in our garage and his hand hit a loose shelf and it came up and smacked him on the head and cut it pretty badly and gave him quite a goose egg.
SO VERY grateful that he is okay!!!

When I look at this list, I am reminded once again that all of the little moments with family and friends are what bring the most JOY to me in my life!

(looking forward to the JOY of the season
and many happy moments with my children and family....
photos from last years season that brought a SMILE to my face)

'Tis the Season for Joy!

The Joy from Children...
The Joy from Family and Friends...
The Joy of Traditions...
the Joy of cherishing and savoring each and every moment of this most Wonderful time of the year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick, Easy & Yummy Pecan Bars!

Oh, how I just LOVE Pecan Pie! 
And to think that at one point in my life that I didn't like it, is just sad.

Tracy and I had never had Pecan Pie until we had been married for 5 years. It just never sounded like it would be good.  I mean when you can choose from Coconut Cream, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate, Cherry, Apple, or any kind of Berry pie, why in the world would you want to choose Pecan?  

When Jade was just a babes, we went and had dinner at one of our friends houses and she offered us a piece of Pecan Pie for dessert...all I can say is WOW!
Yummy...we were hooked and not a year goes by that I don't make up a batch or two of these bars. 

For some reason, I have never been able to get Pecan Pie or Pumpkin pie to turn out. Try as I might, these 2 pie recipes, have never turned out well.
HOWEVER, I came across this great recipe over 10 years ago and it
tastes exactly like Pecan Pie
turns out perfect every time,
throws together quickly and
you don't have to roll out a pie crust...

According to Tracy
the BEST part of all about these bars, is since Pecan Pie is SO rich, these bars are perfect as you can just grab a little bar to enjoy and not have to deal with a slice of pie that is so rich it will take you all night to finish.

Pecan Pie Bars...
so yummy, SO good and absolutely delicious!
Pecan Pie Bars

(Bar Cookie Crust)
2 cups flour
1 cube REAL butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray baking pan with cooking spray.
2.  In large bowl with mixer at medium speed beat flour, butter, sugar and salt until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly into bottom and 1/4 inch up sides of prepared pan.
3.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

(Pecan filling)
2 eggs
3/4 cup Karo Corn Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1.  Prepare and bake pie crust
2.  Meanwhile, in large bowl beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, melted butter and vanilla until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour over hot crust; spread evenly. 
3. Bake for 25-30  minutes or until filling is firm around the edges and slightly firm in center.  Cool over night.  Cut into bars.  
Thanksgiving week!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

ABC's of Kimmie!

While I have been busy,
trying to get my thoughts, recipes and presentation together for our Relief Society Super Saturday on this coming Saturday November 20th, I came across an ABC list I had made last year!!

One of my sweet friends "Ann Marie" did a FUN post in June 2009 of ABC's about herself and she gave the challenge to post these about ourselves. I was really excited about this challenge and I created a word document of them, however, forgot about it and came across this past week as I was cleaning out my document folder.

I thought it would be fun 
 to post this for my journal. 
I tried to list things that weren't on my "Kimmies List" I posted last year and so here it goes...

Apples are one of my favorite foods to eat!

Balance….I try and have balance in life. Even though I eat healthy the majority of the time I enjoy splurging once in awhile on a decadent dessert, or enjoying a handful of french fries, or chips, from time to time.

Car doors are always locked. Even if I am just running into a store, I always lock them. It drives Tracy crazy! Speaking of locks…I ALWAYS have my house locked up as well. It is a subconscious gesture and I’m sure when people come over they get frustrated when they go to walk out the front door and the dead bolt is always clicked and locked.

Don’t speed. Always drive the speed limit. Would hate to waste money on a ticket I could have avoided getting.

Early…I have to be 10-15 minutes early to every appointment.

FUN!! I love to have FUN and try and make each day have something FUN about it.

Garbage…I don’t put anything gross in my garbage. Cans always get rinsed out, scraps go to the chickens, egg shells go on the garden. Any loose paper gets recycled.

Holidays!! I love to celebrate holidays, whether it’s the standard holidays, or Chinese New Year, or Cinco day Mayo, or National PIE Day, I love to do FUN out of the ordinary things to add a little enjoyment to life.

Ice…do NOT like ice in my water. In fact, I would rather drink room temperature water than have ice in it.

JOY in the Journey! One of my most favorite talks ever given was by President Thomas S. Monson on “Finding Joy in the Journey”. That one talk has had more effect on me than anything else...truly life changing! It has inspired me to find Joy each day of my life and was the inspiration for my banner at the top of my Blog. I never tire of listening to/reading these words! (here to view it)

Kiss! Love to kiss my hubby and give my kids kisses! I especially love my kids to see their parents kissing. I grew up in a home where my mother always said “Not in the front of the kids Scott” when my dad went to kiss her and that bothered me greatly and so I wanted to make sure my kids to see and know that their parents love and adore each other!

Listener…I really enjoy listening to other people. I find that after talking to people I always know more about them then they know about me because I am always asking questions about their lives and listening to problems, etc....

Menthol Eucalyptus cough drops are our “breath mints”. We’re a little crazy.

NOT Negative! My motto has been and always will be
 “Look on the bright side of life
and I try my best to never be negative in anything I say or do.

Outside! Every chance I get I love to be outside, even if it is just sitting on the porch and eating dinner as a family, enjoying the crickets chirping, watching the birds fly, or the wind flutter through the trees watching a sunrise or sunset or just going for a walk around the block. I am the biggest lover of NATURE! It makes me HAPPY to spend time outside and I love to head to the mountains to go backpacking. One of my favorite quotes is:
I go to nature to be soothed and healed
 and to have my senses put in order”.

PINK... I am a lover of the color pink...especially HOT Pink! I wear pink lipstick, pink blush and my toenails are only ever painted with shades PINK!

Quilts…I LOVE old quilts and love to incorporate them into my home, especially having pieced/handquilted quilts on our beds! (which are getting harder and harder to find..maybe one of these next yeas when my life gets more organized, I will have time to start making quilts of my own)

R I love to READ!! Whether it’s magazines or books, I enjoy spending part of my day enjoying some form of reading.

Sharp Cheese, Sweet Hot Mustard and crackers are a yummy snack to me. Also, I am a SOCK lover and unless I am wearing sandals, I have to always have SOCKS on my feet. DO NOT like to be barefoot.

Tonsils…I don’t have any and so I am always dumping menthol essential oil (aka Sunbreeze) down my throat and always sucking on Menthol cough drops to soothe my throat and to keep from getting a sore throat.

Umbrella…I love to be prepared and so my bag is always stocked with an umbrella so if it’s raining I am never caught off guard.

Vacuum…I love to vacuum and when I do vacuum I have to vacuum myself out of a room so the carpet is perfect and without vacuum marks.

Windex…(actually Glass Plus) I LOVE to have sparkling windows, mirrors, faucets and TV screens and so daily or at least every other day I pull out my window cleaner and make things shine!

X—EXTRA miler! I really like to go the extra mile in everything I do. Although, lately, due to the craziness of my life I have not been as good in this area. Can’t wait to get back to doing sweet and thoughtful things for family and friends.

Yeast! I love to cook with yeast and one of my favorite things to do is to BAKE bread or rolls for my family and friends. LOVE it!!

Zumiez and Hot Topic…I really enjoy going into these stores with my teenage son. While we rarely buy anything, it’s just fun to look at the extreme styles and I’m always amazed that people would actually wear them.

YES, I am still alive...
we finally got the last coat of POLY on our floor Sunday after church.

Five coats later
(each time having to leave the house for a minimum of EIGHT hours at a time) we are finally DONE!!

It is absolutely gorgeous!
I have felt like a woman
without a home for the past 2 weeks.

I haven't been able to cook! When we have coated the floor and we have to leave, I can't work on any projects at home of any kind, respond to emails, be on the computer
(I'm a little jealous of Tracy's iPhone at the moment)
and on these coating days, we have slept in a trailer that Tracy's sister and brother-in-law brought over for us to use so we don't have to breathe the fumes
(a great lifesaver to us I might add and
my kids loved the adventure of sleeping in sleeping bags outside on a school night)

there is finally LIGHT at the end of the tunnel and November 17th we get to start moving in furniture, (so excited for the transformation) I get my STOVE and Fridge back and I finally get to do what I love best...
Oh and for the record,
I could go a year without shopping! We have walked the mall and every store in Idaho Falls SO much these past 2 weeks, that I am "Shopped out"!

I wished we could have gone and soaked in some HOT water at one our favorite soaking spots
"Heise Hot Springs",
but they are closed for maintenance until the day after Thanksgiving!

We have definitely put in many miles of walking these past few weeks and burned LOTS of calories. (which has been a good thing!)

My kids deserve medals
and I appreciate their non-stop patience through all of this! I can't wait to be a mom again as well...have missed snuggling and reading books with my Ethan Kip!

Happy week!!
Be in touch just as soon as I can!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quick & Easy Bread Sticks/Biscuits

I don't know about you, 
but there are many days when I have a hectic afternoon and we are either out of bread, or there wasn't time to bake bread and I want something yummy to serve for dinner with a bowl of soup, salad, or, a pasta dish.

These 2 recipes have saved many a day for me and they are
SO easy,
delicious and
throw together VERY quickly!!

Besides the meals listed above, they are also both great served
with a smoothie and the biscuits are wonderful served for favorite thing to do with the biscuits is to enjoy them with butter and a drizzle of honey, or a spoonful of jam.. mouth watering DELICIOUS!

(here for great tip for breadsticks)
We have even made up the biscuits and put gravy over them, or made a mock KFC dinner.
(here and here)

However, they are served,
they are always yummy, yummy, yummy!

Yummy Bread Sticks
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. powdered milk
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
4 cups flour

Mix together and knead for 5 minutes in your Kitchen Aid (or by hand)
Roll onto greased sheet.
Cut into bread stick strips.
Let rise 30 minutes.
Spread generously with melted butter and garlic powder, parsley flakes and grated cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
These are another perfect compliment
to homemade soups and chili.

Hot Buttermilk Biscuits
(really easy and really good)
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup buttermilk

Sift together dry ingredients.
Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add buttermilk all at once.
Stir lightly with fork.
Knead gently on lightly floured board.
Roll ½ inch thick.
Cut with 3 inch round cutter.
Place on baking dish with biscuits touching.
Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 or until lightly browned. 

TIDBIT...if for some reason you don't have any buttermilk you can always add 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of milk and let it stand for 5 minutes to "Sour" and you will have buttermilk to add to your recipes.

Enjoy adding some yummy-ness to dinner-time, lunch-time, breakfast-time or ANYTIME for your family!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Memories 2010!

 What a wonderful Halloween weekend
we had this year! 
Costumes, Concert, treats, a date
and a whole lot of FUN!

Here are some of the highlights!
I went and helped with Ethan's Halloween Class party and watched the parade as all of the kids in the school walked the halls showing off their costumes. 
I love the joy and excitement of watching the kids!
Tracy got Ethan ready for school and this is how he did his hair...
a Faux-Hawk spray painted green!
Ethan's school class
posing for a Halloween photo...
Ethan Kip...
he called himself the "Joker Pumpkin"!
My Pumpkins!!
All dressed up to head
to the Annual Halloween concert 
as the Funky Pumpkin Family!
It was a hectic afternoon, as Tracy came right home from work and had to take tents and gear down to the area where his scouts were having their camp-out that night. He then raced in the house, put on his shirt, sprayed a little green in his hair and we were out the door. 
Lucky to have these photos as we almost forgot to snap some!
This happy t-shirt
was worn by my Sweetie!
With the hectic day, I didn't ever get a photo snapped of him wearing it.
If you were to ask me what my most favorite thing that I look forward to all year long (other than our yearly backpacking trip and dates with Mr. Smith), my most favorite thing would be the  
Halloween Symphony Orchestra Concert!

Tracy and I have been going for the past 20+ years. 
I Love it! 
It's such a FUN event and they perform such great music. This year had a little different flair as they had a Western Concert, but it was amazing, nonetheless.

The comedy acts were hilarious
the fiddler, Yodler and blue grass numbers were amazing 
and the Symphony Orchestra 
music fed my soul!!

Here are the numbers they performed:

--The Cowboys Overture.......... John Wiliams

-- Dances with Wolves Concert Suite........John Barry

--Three Dance Episodes from "Rodeo".......Aaron Copland
     I.   Buckaroo Holiday
     II.  Corral Nocturne
     III. Saturday Night Walz
--Hoe Down from "Rodeo"......... Aaron Copland

Even though I don't have a stove/oven at the moment, I made up Pumpkin cookies for Jade to take for dessert to the dinner he went to on his date to the Halloween Dance.
I cooked them 6 at a time in my little toaster oven.
SO yummy! 
It was so delicious to have a homemade treat to enjoy!
(here for recipe)
I can't believe my Jade
is old enough to go on a date!

A sweet girl in his Resource Class asked him to go to the dance with her.
She went as "Alice"
and Jade went as "The Mad Hatter".
We had fun getting his costume all together.

We were going to do his makeup like the Tim Burton Mad Hatter, but since they were eating at 6:00 and pictures weren't until 8:30 we decided to forego the make up so he would stay looking nice for the dance photos.
Carissa's mom had the most amazing table-scape set up for dinner. Jade ate dinner with her and her family and then they talked and enjoyed the evening and then drove the kids to the High School for the dance.

She made the yummiest caramel apples ever and Jade has been talking all week about the delicious spiced cider she made up as well and begging me to buy the apple cinnamon tea and make some up for us to enjoy as well.
Sweet adorable kids!!
It breaks my heart
as both Jade and Carissa have learning and social challenges and neither of them can drive at the moment either.
SO happy that they could go and have a wonderful time!

They got 3rd place
for their costumes at the dance!

The dance went from 9-12 and Carissa's mom thought for sure that Carissa wouldn't make it more than an hour at the dance.
However, 9, 10 and 11 o'clock came and we never heard from the kids.
They were having SO much fun they stayed the whole time at the dance.  Tracy and I picked them up from the dance.  They came out all smiles (except that Jade teased Carissa with spiders at the dance and she had to tell us all about that).
After dropping off Carissa and talking with her mom for a bit, we didn't get home until 1:00 am and then Jade came and sat on our bed and talked to us about the dance until 2:30 am. I LOVE that my kids feel comfortable to talk to us!! I woke up at 6:00 and Jade was crashed in the middle of our bed.  Good times!

We think the world of Carissa and she has the most amazing and loving parents that I have ever met.
LOVED my spider barrette from Tracy and since Halloween was on Sunday, I decided to be bold and to wear it in my hair to church.  I am the ward chorister and I had all kinds of young ones coming up to me after Sacrament meeting to tell me how COOL that spider was.

Life is too short 
not to have a little FUN!

I can't believe that November is here.
 Last night we enjoyed grilled Salmon, fresh beets from our garden (cooked on the hot plate in our garage), enjoyed a two mile walk under the starry sky and came home and played three rounds of Bananagrams as a family!    
LOTS of fun!!
The time is just flying by faster than ever.
Only 23 days until Thanksgiving.
 We are hoping to start putting Polyurethane on our floor this Wednesday evening. We have had a busy past week with church callings, holidays and little areas of the floor that we had to spot sand and stain to blend better.
YAY for progress and I can't wait to get my house back!

Funny sidenote...
the weekend of October 23rd we quickly did up all of the laundry because we knew it would be a week before we would realistically be back in our house. HOWEVER, the fumes from the floor stain, got in our dryer vent and all of our clothes smelled AWFUL like exhaust.  We all noticed the horrible smell at work/school on Monday the 25th and it was such a miserable day to have to sit and smell that awful smell all day long!  YUCK! I don't know what was worse, wearing clothes that smelled that way all day long, OR, drying off with towels that smelled that way.
That evening after dinner we went and soaked at Heise Hot is much nicer to smell like sulfur than exhaust! (wink)
SO, for the past 3 days, I have done over 16 loads of laundry, with the laundry room door shut and the garage door opened to have fresh air for the dryer vent to circulate through to get the smell out of our clothes!!  
Happy to say it worked! Yay!!
There is never a boring moment at my house right now!