Monday, September 27, 2010


SO, June 2006,
we purchased some oak hardwood flooring in high hopes of getting it laid and installed and able to enjoy sometime that year.

(photos of our kitchen dining area,
early on in our home owning)
OUR GOAL when we purchased the hardwood was to have hardwood flooring in the kitchen/dining room/great room and down the hall so the only carpet we have in our house is in our living room and bedrooms.

nothing in our life is easy at all!

(my hubby is what you call a
"jack of all trades"..."a do-it-your-selfer"

(IN FACT, as I am typing this, he is replacing all four struts in my car)

and SO since there are only so many hours in the day and only SO much of Tracy to go around, our projects always take longer than they would for most families.

However, any project that he does,
it is amazing when he finishes it!!  He definitely has the magic touch!
I am truly in AWE at the amazing talent he has in every area of life.
I don't think that there's anything in this world that he cannot do...
and that makes me a VERY lucky woman!

Since the only place we have had to watch TV
is in our great room which is in the kitchen/dining room, it meant that we needed to move our TV watching area to somewhere different when we laid the hardwood, but since we have been trying to wipe out debt, it didn't leave any extra wiggle room, for furring out and insulating the basement.

(the boys room when Ethan was just a toddler)

Fast forward to March 2010...
Tracy had the brilliant idea to
think outside the box
and make a TV watching/computer area in one of the bedrooms.

we pulled the boys out of the bigger bedroom
and made it into a cozy little TV/computer room and
we moved the boys into the smaller bedroom complete with new bunk-beds.

After we painted the rooms and swapped furniture around we didn't make any other headway on projects...the summer got away from us with non-stop obligations...between Tracy's work schedule, being Scout Master and wanting to have FUN with our kids during the summer, there was pretty much no free time to work on much of anything. But, that's okay.

Thank goodness I'm a VERY patient wife!!
Panorama of our new
TV/computer room

This is what you see
when you walk in the room

This is the view
while sitting on the couch
(HOWEVER, it's a good thing that projects take us so long to accomplish, because we usually end up changing our mind and end up with something MUCH better. That is the case for our TV watching room.
We are actually in the middle of changing that all around...can't wait to finish that project and post photos.)

This is the boys room...
we still have to build in shelving and lockers for them.

Fast forward to
September 11th, 2010
and this is what happened that day...
Carpet gets torn up...

I'm absolutely disgusted with the amount of DIRT on our sub floor after we pulled up the carpet and pad.
You would never know that
I vacuumed every single day of my life!!
Ethan Kip was the hardest working kid that day.
He didn't ever stop working.
Hauling out the carpet...

Our neighbor boy Logan
came over and helped with the demolition of our kitchen floor.
The kids had SO much fun tearing up the floor!!
Excited to raise the cabinet
above our fridge so that it will be able to accommodate the hardwood floor AND to add a nice line to our kitchen cabinets.
Jade busy vacuuming up
all of the dust, nails and other other garbage from the floor.
Hardwood all stacked in our house
and hopefully it won't be too long, before we can actually start laying it down.
STILL lots to do...
we've got to finish pulling up moldings, redo a door jam, re-sheet rock an area, PAINT, build in shelves and the list goes on until we can finally start laying down the oak flooring.

Tracy using a special tool to cut off the bottom of all of the door trim to accommodate the wood flooring.

Once the flooring is laid,
then there will be LOTS of puttying holes/cracks on the floor and then sanding the perimeter and edges with hand sanders and then sanding the main area with a large sander and then staining and varnishing and then sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and then varnishing again(that last sanding and varnishing has to be done three times to get a good protective layer on the hardwood).
and then sanding, painting and attaching all of the baseboards again (which is going to be LOTS of work) and finishing our built-in shelves and doing finish trim work.
OH, and we have to tile the laundry room and finish our bathroom and we have to put up back-splashes in our kitchen as that never got done when we moved in our house.
AND crossing my fingers that we will be able to figure out how to add a stained checkerboard effect in my kitchen area
It makes me tired just thinking about
all we have left to do.
It will be SO nice and
so worth it when it is done!
So, if I am not in the Blog world much, it is because I am trying to make the best use of my afternoons, trying to
ease the burdens of Mr. Smith to help speed this Home Improvement project so we can have it all done in time to host Thanksgiving Dinner at our house this year...
which will be here before we know it.

Chaos, mess and all,
I have the most WONDERFUL life in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything!
Life is SO good...
especially when we're all home together as a family each evening!

Hope all of my friends and family
have a wonderful week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A week of fun memories!

"The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
- John Muir

(jade and ethan fall 2007)

How did it get to be the first day of Autumn?
The summer just flew on by.
I can't believe it's been a month since we sent the kids back to school.
I wish time would slow down just a bit, but it just keeps marching on!

My kids are getting bigger with each season change.

I was looking at photos of them from last Autumn and can't believe how much they've matured and grown up in just a short year's time.

Even though life is busy
we are doing our best to enjoy each day to the fullest...
because life is all about memories...
you can't take any of your "Stuff" with you...
all you take with you is your memories and experiences.

I was SO excited
a few weeks ago as I was shopping when I came across a childhood favorite candy of mine. Our life has been FULL of enjoying ZOTZ almost daily!!

The fizzy, tart treat
has been a hit with my kiddos.
There is nothing that I enjoy more than sharing things with my kids that I enjoyed when I was a young girl.

We dressed in our jeans, shirts and bandannas
and headed over to Mark and Candace's house (Tracy's neice and hubby) and had the BEST time. Here are some photos from their Pony party.

Mark and Candace
have an amazing yard and many OLD buildings and so we took a few photos in front of one of them.
The Smith Family

Adorable Ethan

Handsome Jade

Talented Candace
(who took tomato plants and grew them into trees in her greenhouse).
Her gardening skills are amazing!

Birthday girl Alyssa Joelle

Ethan Kip
getting a little crazy on the pony

Candace's amazing talent
created this Carousel Birthday Cake!!
I wish I had a fraction of the talent that she does.
She is someone
I look up to a lot and is the BEST mom to her kids!

Lots of fun!

Cross Country!
It's that time of the year for weekly Cross Country Meets.
I LOVE going and watching Jade Run.
He is definitely not the fastest runner, (in fact, he usually comes in last...due to a health problem he was born with)
but he finishes every single race and
always has the best attitude and I'm proud of him!

If you were to judge his performance based on the energy of his cheering mother as he crossed the finish line, you would think he is coming in first!

I'm SO grateful that he has this opportunity available to him to be able to participate in such an awesome sport!

This was a photo that I took of him running in the Rigby Meet.
They had to run part of the meet in a wheat field.
I love how this turned out!


A few weeks ago I noticed a quarterly flyer that we get of all of the upcoming events to BYU-I and they had tickets for ABBA-mania for $12.00 each.
That is such a great deal as we spent $48.00 for EACH ticket to take Jade to the KILLERS concert!
They sang some of
ABBA's greatest hits!

--Mamma Mia
--Take a Chance
--Does your mother know?
--I had a dream
--I Do, I Do
--Name of the Game
--The winner takes it all
--Gimmie, Gimmie
--Super Trooper
--Summer Night City
--Money Money
--Lay all your Love
--Ring Ring
--Honey Honey
--Knowing Me, Knowing You
--Voulez Vous
--Dancing Queen

Tracy's sister Lisa is one of the biggest fans I know of ABBA and so we went with Lisa and her husband Tom and their kids.
Tracy's parents came with us as well.
Since Jade is such a social bug he sat with Tom and Lisa's family and their boy Bryson sat with our family.
Ethan and Bryson had such a great time sitting by each other!
There is nothing more fun for kids than spending time with cousins.

We were definitely
"having the time of our lives"
They put on an amazing concert and I think they sounded better than the original ABBA group. The kids thought it was so cool when they sang "I had a dream" and everyone was flashing around their cell phone lights. It was gorgeous all those lights shining in the darkened room with the only other light being the disco ball spinning around.
Once again HIGH ENERGY
and my kids saw their mom being CRAZY, especially when they sang the last song
"Dancing Queen".
I ran down to the dance floor and danced the entire song!!

I love having events like this to be able to get a little wild and crazy. Since we have to be serious most of the time, it is SO much fun to be able to let your hair down every now and then.
Life is too short to not have FUN!

I'm SO glad our kids
love music as much as we do!!
Saturday after the concert, we turned up the speakers in our great room and listened to ABBA and watched ABBA videos on You-Tube all morning long and had an absolute ball!

What an amazing journey life is!
SO happy to be able to enjoy each and every season of life with my wonderful family.
Looking forward
to embracing the "Crisp" fall air, shorter days and the stunning beauty that Autumn Time brings with the leaves changing colors on the trees and then falling to the ground
and hoping that my cares will drop away from me like the falling leaves of Autumn.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pie Crust!

This is kind-of a re-post...
I have lots of people ask me for my pie crust recipe and so I thought I would make it easier to locate and so I am just posting just the pie crust recipe only.

We are pie lovers and I enjoy so much making pie crust!
This makes the perfect crust and always turns out flaky and delicious!

Apple Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie,
Coconut Cream Pie, Huckleberry Apple Pie,
Cherry Pie, Three Berry Pie, Peach Pie,
Strawberry Pie, AND Zucchini Quiche,

wouldn't taste as yummy without this delicious crust!

(here for pie recipes)

Pie Crust
½ cup REAL butter

2/3 cup shortening

1 Tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon dry milk
3 cups flour

½ cup cold water

butter and shortening together.

half the flour and all of the dry ingredients.


the rest of flour and water. (Makes 2 double crusts)

Roll out
very thin with plenty of flour.

put in pie plates and prick with fork all over.

Bake 400 degrees
for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.

The Key to a flaky pie crust
is to NOT try to make the dough look perfect and don't overwork it or it will make it stiff.

(OR you can use ALL butter instead of butter and shortening---if you choose this option it is 20 Tbsp. of butter or 2-1/2 sticks)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zucchini Favorites of our family!

YES, it's that time of the year...
time for LOTS and LOTS of the GREEN stuff from our garden;

Every family has their favorite zucchini recipes!
Since this is my recipe journal for all of our family favorites, I thought I had better post these.

The last time I posted about zucchini was in June 2009 when I was pulling zucchini from my freezer that I had froze the previous year and using it up.

Harvest Time
wouldn't be the same without making up these three yummy dishes.

Zucchini BREAD
We enjoy zucchini bread
ALL through the winter because of this helpful tip!!
Thank goodness for being able to preserve things through freezing!
If I were to think of my family's favorite "sweet bread" recipe, it would hands down be Zucchini Bread!

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup oil (I use ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce instead of 1 full cup of oil)
1 ¾ cup sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
3 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix first 5 ingredients.
Sift and add the rest.
Grease 2 loaf pans and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour (OR until toothpick inserted in comes out clean.

This is always a hit with everyone
of the year that it is baked up!

I just LOVE any kind of casserole
that has "stuffing" in it.

I remember being a young girl and enjoying SO much when there would be leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving dinner and we would take leftover stuffing, turkey and add in some broccoli and bake it in the oven.

This recipe kind of reminds me of that kind of a casserole.
I never buy store bought bread crumbs...
because it's just so easy to make them yourself.
I just take a few slices of my French Bread (here) and then slice them into small cubes and toast them in my toaster oven until lightly browned.
I then sprinkle on 1 tsp. sage and 1 tsp garlic powder and mix well.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and Voila...
a delicious casserole using
bread you baked and veggies from your garden

Zucchini Casserole
1 chicken breast (cooked and chopped)
Sautee 1 onion and 1 cup of celery until tender

3 medium zucchinis (chopped) and 3 chopped carrots until tender.
Drain well.

4 cups of bread crumbs and
season well
with sage and garlic powder (I use 1 tsp of each)

Mix altogether
and add 1 can of cream of chicken soup.

Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
This is delicious and really easy!

Zucchini QUICHE
We recently had a bad frost and even though we covered our garden, it still left the leaves of our squash plants looking pretty ugly. Ethan overheard Tracy and I talking about our garden and he chimed in and said:

"I'm so sad! Does this mean you won't be able to make anymore of that Pie with Zucchini, Eggs and Cheese... I was really looking forward to having some more of that!"

Well a few days after the frost, we started noticing more zucchini's growing so YES, my little Ethan Kip, we definitely will be enjoying more of this yummy Quiche!

(as easy as 1, 2, 3
and you can whip up a delicious quiche for dinner)

Zucchini Quiche
(click here for pie crust recipe)
5 cups
zucchini sliced thin

1 onion chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
½ to 1 cup cooked ham chopped (optional)
Cook in skillet for about 15 minutes. (may need to add a little bit of water)

Mix together:
2 Tbsp. Parsley flakes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp basil
¼ tsp oregano
Combine vegetable mixture and spices together

Blend together
8 oz grated Swiss cheese
4 eggs

Make pie crust and press in un-greased 10” pie plate, prick with fork and
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (or until lightly browned).
Pour vegetable/spice mixture evenly over crust.
Pour cheese and eggs over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Feeling SO grateful,
that even though we got the latest start ever this year in planting our garden
(didn't get it in until the first week of July...yes, it was a busy summer),
we are still enjoying a bountiful harvest
of cabbage, LOTS red potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, a few ears of corn and
LOTS of Zucchini!!