want to know what’s making me smile

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It could be the half dozen gingerbread cookies I’ve eaten since last night. (It certainly isn’t the sleep deprivation.) Okay, really it is that I won DeeDee’s awesome giveaway and I just keep thinking about what I am going to do with my Memory Mixer Scrapbooking System. I have been intimated by digital scrapbooking, but now I have no excuse not to jump in with both feet. It is perfect timing too. I got out Meg and Emily’s scrapbooks at realized how few pages they had the other day. They loved looking at them and I vowed to do better…I think this is the answer! I’ll let you know if it is everything I hope it is. (Did that sound weird???) Back to work…lots of fun starting tomorrow…

Thanks DeeDee!

christmas countdown coming up…

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I’m getting excited for the Christmas season and I’m sure your getting in the mood too. Growing up, whenever we were questioned about a Christmas surprise we were working on; we’d always cryptically say “The goose is getting fat…” (Even typing that makes me smile!)

Well, around here the goose is indeed getting fat. I have been working on a great series of fun gifts to make with your kids as well as great gift ideas to buy. Starting Wednesday, we’ll be counting down 10 great ideas for both and everyday there will be a giveaway to go with it. Now you can see why I am so excited can’t you? Check back on Wednesday…mwah-ha-ha! (Okay, an evil laugh wasn’t necessary, but it did feel appropriate. Just roll with it, I ‘m a bit giddy over all of this.)



I sure am thankful for my crazy, chaotic, fun, happy life. I am thankful for you guys too. Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you had a great one!

quick craft: thanksgiving turkey favors


Since the kids will be out of school, why not let them help you decorate? These little turkeys are easy to make and look darling on the table. You could also make a larger one to hold chips, popcorn, or other snacks.


construction paper (brown and orange for the feet and beak, as well as the colors you want thedirections for folding the cup feathers to be.)
scotch tape
Feathers, googly eyes


1. Make an origami cup by cutting a brown piece of paper into a square. Fold the square horizontally to make a triangle.
2. Hold the triangle so that the longest side is at the bottom and the point(a) is up and then fold each tip(a) down to the base to make a crease, then put them back up. (You are only creasing and going back to the triangle.)
3. Fold each of the base point(b) to the middle of the opposite side.
4. Now fold the points(a) back down. (One side will cover the two tips(b) that are folded up. This is your turkey’s body.
5. Cut a beak by folding a piece of orange paper and cutting a triangle (leave the fold as the base side of the triangle.)
6. Cut out a waddle, feathers and feet (that are wide enough to support the rest of the turkey.)
7. Glue the pieces together and fill the cup with candy or trailmix and write the names of your guests on the feet if you want to use them as place cards.

dinner needs to be easy-grilled greek chicken

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…because you are probably feeling a little crazy whether you are hosting or not. I am making a lot of fun things for Thanksgiving and every time I check PW’s cooking feed, I get more ambitious. I had to ask Mike to talk me down from making the pumpkin bread pudding she featured today. Oh man, that sounds good. Pumpkin pie is enough. Pumpkin pie is enough….give me a minute to repeat that to myself a few more times. Okay, back to reality. What was I saying? Easy dinners. Right. May I recommend making some Chili tomorrow. Then you can have Mexican haystacks (further down in the same chili post) on Wednesday–if you can wait. I love those haystacks so much, that is what I am thinking about when I make the chili. On Tuesday, you can make this yummy and easy Greek inspired chicken.


4 chicken breasts
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. black pepper
1/3 tsp. paprika


1.Cut a few small slits in each breast to allow marinade to penetrate.  Place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika in a gallon bag and shake until emulsified, about 30 seconds.
2. Add chicken and work in, then let marinate overnight.
3.Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate. Cook about 5 minutes per side or until juices run clear. You may need to watch for flare ups. It is good to have a spray bottle with water to keep the flames down.
4. Serve with roasted potatoes or (boxed of course) rice pilaf and a green salad (+10 points if you go Greek and use cucumbers, onion, tomato and kalamata olives and some feta. If you do want a Greek salad, just mix about 2 parts olive oil, 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part honey with salt and pepper to make an easy dressing.)

It’s easy, but this is one of my favorite dinners–and it even works great to serve to friends. It turns out pretty nice. Have fun this week!

gratitude tree update

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Okay, I have to admit that I have neglected my blog to…wait for it… work on a big event for the blog after Thanksgiving. (Yes, I do get that ignoring your blog to work on your blog is a little ironic. and redundant.)

Moving on… We had issues with our gratitude tree staying up. This weekend I decided to put some branches that I saved for projects to use. I stuck them in a wide vase that was half full of uncooked rice. (To hold the branches up.) We all have really liked the change and it will make a great adornment for Thanksgiving dinner.

i heart salt lake


…I really do and I was excited to see that two of my favorite bloggers, Whatever DeeDee Wants and Julie’s Food Love have teamed up to create a website dedicated to exploring Salt Lake. It looks fantastic. Can’t wait to see where they go with it. …um and they are giving a Cafe Rio card away. But don’t enter. Really. You don’t really want it. Stop. Don’t click. I need my steak salad.

’tis the season for giving…

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and darling Tea Rose Home is giving away some of her clever creations. Check it out. I love her.

today’s mama gamestop giveaway


Today’s Mama is up to their usual impressive giveaway. More gaming stuff than I really know what is for. What I do know? I would love a Kinect and this is likely the only way one is going to make it under my tree. I think Megan would be in heaven with that DS so I figure I’d better enter. They even made it fun by making a questionnaire part of the entry. Here’s mine:

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?
Really, I would have to say the perfect job for Michael. (Even though I know that isn’t too exciting sounding…just to me…and him.)
2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?
Once everyone is up, we let the girls go into the livingroom, where Santa has left there stash. Michael videos as they discover and open presents. Then we have some breakfast. So far I have tried new recipes for that each year. I want to settle on a tradition, but haven’t found it yet.
3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?
Dream house. No question.
4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?
We do a lot of creating together and a lot of story telling. So far we have been lucky that they girls don’t get to worked up about the commercial side. As long as there are some presents they are totally thrilled. It doesn’t have to be huge.
5. What games did you play with your family growing up?
My little sis and I have always loved to color and play with dolls. We also loved this funny game called pass the pig and well as dominoes, and trivial pursuit. My sister (ever the entrepreneur) saved up and bought a Nintendo. We loved playing Mario Bros., Tetrus, and Dr. Mario.
6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?
We always have an orange in the toe and a banana in the top of our stockings and there are a few unwrapped gifts laid out. We decorate the tree together while listening to Christmas music and we read the story of Jesus’ birth on Christmas eve.
7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip?
I think Germany would be an amazing place to see at Christmas time.
8. Check out GameStop (link to: http://bit.ly/gamestop10) and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?
Call of Duty: Black Ops (for Michael), any of the Kinect games-definitely the personal trainer one for me and Kinectamals for the girls, Meg is interested in Mario Bros. (that makes me smile.)

Now it is your turn to go and enter. Take a look at the prize list, it is certainly worth it! Read the rest of this entry »

this made me smile

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I know I saw this somewhere years ago, but I ran across it again the other day and it made me smile. The girls of course thought it was hilarious. So click, sit back and enjoy.

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