pay it forward

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I can’t believe it has taken over a week to post about this, I am so excited to do it! My super-clever friend, Tara, posted this great idea and I am stoked to join the fun. Here’s how it works:

The Rules
1. Be one of the first THREE bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which then entitles you to a handmade item from me.
2. Winners, you must post this challenge on your blog, meaning that you will Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift for the first THREE bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway!
3. The gift that you send to your Three Friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And, remember: It’s the Spirit and the Thought That Count!
4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it, sharing appropriate Linky Love!

If you are not one of the Top Three Commenters on this post, you can still play along. Please take the button and post it on your blog; start your own Pay It Forward chain, and encourage your blogging friends to do the same!

I am so excited to see what Tara makes–she has serious skills! You should check out her Etsy shop. I am also way excited to see who I am sending something too. If you have a preference for metal, crafty project, or a painting; feel free to let me know in your comment. =) Have fun!

dinner: pan fried noodles with orange chicken

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This is a perfect weeknight quick fixin’ dinner. If you are really strapped for time, you can use a bottled sauce. I tried this with a frozen deep fried chicken (that I bought at Costco and didn’t like the sauce that came with it) this time around.


ingredients:

noodles:

1 pkg. of spaghetti

2 Tbs. butter (or margarine)

chicken:

2 chicken breasts, cubed

garlic salt

1 pkg. frozen stir fry vegetables (or whatever you have on hand, tonight it was just broccoli for us.)

sauce:

4 Tbs. orange juice concentrate

2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. cornstarch


directions:

1. Set a large pot of water to boil and cook spaghetti as directed. (I actually use a deep skillet for this so that I only have 2 pans to wash. If you don’t have a deep skillet, this can be done in a large pot.) When tender, drain and place on a plate. Melt the butter and return the noodles to the skillet. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently.

2. Thaw vegetables in microwave.

3. Heat another skillet, when hot to the touch, add cubed chicken and sprinkle generously with garlic salt. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a plastic spatula continuously while the chicken cooks, about 3 minutes. Turn down heat and add the vegetables.

4. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken and vegetables. Increase heat and cook until sauce bubbles. Allow to boil for about 1 minute while stirring.

5. Serve over noodles.

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Also, let me share the beautiful flowers that my darling friend Juli sent me. (Mike calls her my spoiler. =D I love it!) Seriously, I have the best friends! My birthday has been so much fun because of you all. Amy even timed a gift to come this week and make the fun last longer. I just feel so blessed and touched by all you guys do. I love you, thanks again!

Snydermill ’09

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We had a great weekend hanging out with the Jensens at Snydermill Lodge in Park City. It was so much fun! (For those of you who don’t know the proportions of Mike’s family, there are 35 of us–16 adults, 19 kids–pretty crazy! Since I have a boat load of pictures to share, I am going to share my other big news first, so that you can scroll as long as you’re interested.

We have an addition to our family! Last night we headed over to our awesome cousin, Amanda’s house and picked up our new boxer pup, Jake. We are way excited to have this little guy in our family! He is so sweet, our total cuddle boy. You can probably guess about how much I got done today. Hehe, totally worth it!

Isn’t this a killer picture? Mike is such a great photographer!

Jake likes breakfast at 6:30, Emily decided to keep him

company. That’s some pretty cute TV time.

Now enjoy some of the fun we had this weekend:

Playing games

Grandma Lu warming up by the fire

Morgan and Emily having fun

There is always a lot of food to be had!

Silly kids!

Playing on the bunkbeds

My snow bunnies

The best way to watch a movie

Big kid game playing

Even bigger kid game playing

Just hangin’ out

A little more hangin’ out.

How’s that for some good fun? If you made it to the bottom of this post, you are probably family. ;-D Hope you can see just how fun it was. Thanks again Gary and LuAnn, you guys totally spoil us!

oh, the fun!

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Today, was my birthday; and it was SO MUCH FUN! First of all, may I just say that I have the best husband ever, who gave me the day off. We started off with swiming class and my cute, cute friend Jodi brought cupcakes for us to enjoy. The girls had a ball!

Then we headed to parent observation at dance class. Which was so cute!

Then, oh joy! I went to lunch with some of my super fun friends, Julie, Val, Tawnya, and Rebecca. We had yummy food and LOTS of good conversation. In fact, we met at 11:30 and left the restaurant at 1:15–then left the parking lot at 3:20. Hehe, it was so much fun!

Photo #1: Taken by slightly inebriated 20 year old guy at table next to us

Photo #2: Taken by much more inebriated other guy who told us to

say “Tequila” like we were in Cabo. I love Val’s face!

After lunch, I went to run some errands (by myself!) and my Mom hunted me down for a birthday surprise! She found me in TJ Maxx (that sly Banana). She gave me 30 candies, pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars and cute green pearls to celebrate turning 30. (She is also a spoiling Banana. =D )

Finally, home to my grumpy girls and (after a few time outs for Megan) out to a yummy dinner with my wonderful honey! ( I missed a picture of this. Man!) Mike gave me a darling new coat. (picture to come) and is sending me to silversmithing class–wich I am stoked for! All in all, I feel very spoiled! Excellent birthday! Thanks guys!

one fun day

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We headed down to the UC to hang out with Grandma Banana. We got to meet my Uncle Boyd, Bonnie, Joe and Trent, my cousin (who is now in the MTC!!!) for lunch at P.F. Changs:

Here’s the gang.

Grandma kept Meg entertained with the chopsticks.

Emily, enjoying some lettuce. (How cute is that!)

After a day of fun at Grandma’s we headed to Mike’s cousin, Amanda’s house to see the PUPPIES! They recently had a litter of boxers and they have 3 left; so we had to goo cuddle them a little. Emily was more interested in Madison’s toys; but Megan snuggled under the table and had a ball playing with them. Behold the cuteness:

Check out that cute little pup! His name is Max.

i got a package today

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hehehe. I am a little excited. My awesome sister sent me a present. What does the best sister ever get for her adorable (in a quirky and fun way) little sis?

oh my, what could be inside such a nice little package?

very pretty, no?

even engraved–she is so great!

I am so lucky!

Thanks Pamela, I love you!

it’s my party…

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…but there is no reason to cry. (Oh the cheese!) The Jensens had a birthday dinner for Brad (my super-cool brother in law who’s birthday is on Christmas Eve) and me. We had a yummy chicken cordon bleu and salad bar with brownies and homemade ice cream for dessert. Mmm… Let the week of birthday fun begin. Mike is already spoiling me! I love it!

We couldn’t stop laughing after Delin helped us by spitting out the candles.

Kristine, Tayt, Trey and Wes lining up for some of Grandpa’s famous homemade ice cream

hook me up with some of that sweet, sweet stuff Grandpa!

i love my job

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Michael and I were sitting in the living room talking this afternoon when Emily came in to ask for something. Then she skipped out in her usual cute Emily way. As happens so often, I just couldn’t help but think how wonderful she is and how much I love being her mom. Michael said that the look on my face at that moment “makes it all worth it.”

I have thought about that a bit today. There are certainly frustrating and tiring moments in my day, but they are far outweighed by the effervescent moments of joy in being a mother to these two wonderful girls.

This is Megan’s “pretend dog.” The other afternoon, I walked

into the kitchen and  found the puppy studying Megan’s

alphabet “stairs” on the fridge. I thought it was very cute

and comical. Her imagination is so vibrant. It is fun just to

witness some of the little things she comes up with.

loads of fun with chloe

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Some of our favorite friends recently moved back from Baltimore and we have been reveling in the fun. Tonight they joined us for a chicken nugget tea party (and La Frontera for the adults) Here are the girls tea-ing it up:

Check out that million watt grin

Megan loves to play hostess

We have also started swim class again this week and are super excited that Chloe joined the girls for the fun. The girls loved splashing around with her and even getting ready after. I really loved getting to sit with Jodi and chat during the lesson. I love it when the girls and the moms get to have fun. =D

Doing the kick and crawl

Those are some pretty cute girls

dinner: russian apricot chicken (or pork)

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This is one of my very favorite chicken dishes. It also works great with pork; which is what is shown here. I like to make a large pork tenderloin for dinner and then cube the leftovers and make this a day or two later. (I love those double duty dinner ideas!)

ingredients:

~1/2 bottle of Russian salad dressing

1 c. apricot jam

1 envelope dry onion soup mix (Lipton)

1 1/2-2 lbs. largely cubed chicken or pork (3 chicken breasts)

rice

(I really like Jasmine rice–which is a variety of rice produced by many brands. It has a delicate flavor and cooks quickly. The nutty flavor of brown rice is great with this as well.)

vegetable of choice, I really like broccoli with this; but anything works.

directions:

1. Cut the chicken into large pieces and place in a baking dish. Mix the dressing, soup mix and jam and over the chicken (mix if necessary). Place in the oven and let bake for 45 min-1 hour, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is bubbly.

2. Meanwhile, cook rice according to direction.

3. Prepare vegetables as needed in the last 15 minutes of the chicken’s bake time. Plate all and enjoy.

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