Monday, December 27, 2010

christmas around us

Christmas was magic. So much hope, love, happiness, giving- I love this time of year! I feel so blessed to have kids and a husband who's still a kid at heart to celebrate with.

I'm kind of a nut for traditions (which is why I can't stop obsessing over this... so I can do this with the kids next year. why is it so expensive???).
We started some new traditions, and I can't wait to add more as our family grows. 

Here's a couple of the creative things we did this season. There are so many possibilities. Recipes coming. (trust me, you'll want them)!

more like gingerbread shacks. haha. we'll have to amp up the creativity next year.
glue, cotton balls, paint, paper plates, googly eyes... the kids were in crafting heaven.
Our brave friends had us over for a night of cookie decorating, so fun!


Oh, the food. I can't wait to post these recipes. I aimed high for our Christmas dinner. I knew if I wanted to start a tradition, it had to be something good. Troy said it was the best meal I've ever made. That pretty much made my entire Christmas!
we watched "Christmas Vacation" a few times. There's Uncle Eddie himself!

Our first Christmas in our cozy little house. I hung those lights all by myself, oh yes I did :) 
 Since we don't have a fireplace and mantel, I was having a hard time finding a place to hang the stockings. It was my 4 year old's bright idea to hang them along the banister- she's a genius! Some garland would have looked pretty with the stockings. I'm hoping to add more decor each year we're here. Little by little.... (Hobby Lobby Christmas sale tomorrow with the gift card my sisters got me)!
 A few months ago, my kids and I were taking a little nature walk at our church. We gathered several pine cones; it was a really fun afternoon. Troy thought I was nuts while watching me wire them together, but here's what I came up with. I think I'll add a couple things next year to make it fuller.

More Christmas stories and memories from this year can be found on our private blog: www.rachelandtroy.blogspot.com.
Hope everyone's was merry and bright.
:)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

if you haven't seen this yet, you should!

I was really sad last Friday night when my sister, who lives in Provo, Utah, texted me and told me that the Provo Tabernacle was burning down. Troy and I attended a couple church meetings there, and its such a neat building (even though the pews are horribly uncomfortable)! I know this picture is circulating around the internet, by I had to add it to my blog too. It totally gave me the goosebumps when I saw it. It takes a second to comprehend what you're looking at, but its amazing. Very appropriate at this time of year, celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Monday, December 20, 2010

dear santa

My husband just told me last night that there is a real place in Alaska, a little town called the North Pole, where your kids can send a letter to Santa, and possibly receive a response. We're too late to try it this year, but next year we will for sure! Here's a link with more info.
How to send a letter to Santa



I got a big kick out of the pictures our 4 year old drew on her letter to Santa...

and here's from the two year old.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Office- part 1

These days we don't really....sit, so we certainly didn't need a sitting room. We turned the front sitting room into our office instead. Very functional for us! Finally we're making progress on getting it all organized. Here's a little peak...

After a few projects like this:
(thank you $.50 garage sale mirror)
and this:
(I covered this message board in leftover fabric and ribbon)
and hiding those pesky cords you see in the corner,


Our office now looks like this:
my side of the office.
the gallery wall is my favorite part of this room so far.
see my Winged Victory statue? i carried that heavy thing all the way from italy. ♥

Husband's side.
He was so excited to find those desks on craigslist. Someday, I'd love to put one in the basement and save up for a piano keyboard to put in its place. He could gather all his guitars and violins and have a little music corner.

A great little dump-the-junk spot right next to the front door.
Thanks to the Christmas tree, you hardly notice that we still don't have curtains!


I still need to de-clutter the shelves, get some curtains, and paint the walls. But little by little, I feel like this room is taking shape, finally!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

$1 tree

I'd been wanting to add a little green to balance out our family room, but all the trees I'd been eyeing at the stores were all $40 or more. Crazy! So, luckily I found this thing for $1 at a garage sale this summer, and I finally got around to taking care of it. The basket was an ugly brown, so I spray painted it black. Then I got some pretty green moss for $2 and hot glued it to the bottom. Last, I Lysol sprayed all the leaves and now they have a pretty shine. Our family room is still not totally put together, but little by little its getting there.


Next on the list is to figure out how to hide all those cords, now that Weston is crawling around everywhere!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No Fail French Bread

If you've never baked your own bread, have no fear.  This recipe is for you!  Your husband will come home, take in the aroma, then take you in his arms and exclaim, "Honey, you baked!"
It requires no special pans, ingredients or skills.  If you have a stand up mixer, you will be all set! 
Try it, its super easy and so delicious, especially with a hot pot of potato cheese soup. 
(recipe from my good friend Nicole Holm)


1/2 cup warm water
2 TB yeast
Mix and dissolve.

2 cups hot water
3 TB sugar
1 TB salt
1/3 cup oil
Put in mixer, dissolve.

Add yeast mixture.

Add 3 cups flour. Beat well.

Add 3 more cups flour. Beat well to form a soft dough.

Let rest 10 minutes. Stir batter down, let rest 10 minutes. Repeat process of stirring dough, followed by 10 minutes of rest until it has been done a total of 5 times.

Turn dough onto floured board and knead only enough to coat dough with flour. Divide into 2 portions. Toll each portion into a 9x12 inch rectangle. Roll up jelly roll style, omitting the air bubbles. Arrange lengthwise on a greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with a beaten egg while (optional). Slash 3 times diagonally on each loaf. Cover, let rise until doubles, about 30 min. Bake at 400 for 35 min.


Instead of getting mad, I just try to be grateful for my "extra help."
:)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

my seesters

Finally, just as I was starting to fall off the blogging bandwagon, two of my sisters jumped on. Thus encouraging me to keep plugging along. For a while, I was ready to shut down and call it quits. But, they've put a new spring in my step.

Allow me to introduce you.

First there's Kate, my older sister. She has a little business where she designs all sorts of announcements, cards, invitations, etc. She designed our Christmas cards this year, and they are awesome! She can help anybody design anything, for a really good price. Check out her blog and contact her there.

Then, there's Jesse, the sister right under me. (There are 5 of us). She refused to start blogging until she had children. haha. Well, since she's expecting her first in January, she finally gave in. Her cooking blog is the start of a something really cool.


I live really far away from all of my sisters, and I miss them so much!
I can't wait to see them over the holidays.
All 5 of us together again, under the same roof.
I think about the future a lot, now that I have my own kids.  I dream about our future family Christmas time.  I can only hope that my kids are as close as my sisters and I have always been.  We're so lucky.
And at times a little crazy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

raspberry cheesecake cupcakes

Because that Howard boy isn't a huge fan of birthday cake, I decided to make him cheesecake instead.  This was my first time making cheesecake, and definately not the last.  It was so easy!  I tweeked a recipe from one of my new favorite foodie blogs, found here. (thanks Kelli!)


While I was busy-ing myself in the kitchen, here's what the munchkins were up to: I love displaying their art.



Saturday, October 16, 2010

signing out ( i know, just when i start to get this blog rolling). i'll be back soon!

I'm feeling slightly bogged down with things in my life, and I can't stand having the guilt of blogging hang over my head, so I'm taking a blogging break and setting myself free for the next few weeks in efforts to buckle down and get stuff done. Stay tuned to see what on earth our silly kids requested for their Halloween costumes, and my attempt at fulfilling their wishes via my sewing machine. Wish me luck!


ps- nothing monumental to note, except that our computer has some sort of virus, making it very difficult to post pictures, I am still not moved in or organized like I need to be, I am behind on taking our kids annual pictures, I have 6 urgent sewing projects going on, my family just decided to celebrate Christmas over Thanksgiving break (can't wait!) and I am making all their gifts this year, and our 9 month old still hasn't had his 6 month check up.... something has got to go, and since this blog isn't even close to what i envision, it'll have to wait a little longer. see you in november!   

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

baby boy tie shirt

Time to whip out the old sewing machine.  Baby brother grew out of the vest I made a few months back to match his sister's outfits.  So, here's my quick fix to keep them all matching.  I try not to be too cheesy-but it just makes me smile- what can I say.   These things are selling like hotcakes in Utah, so I hear.

I could post a tutorial, but its pretty self explanatory.  I traced the end of one of my husband's ties onto a piece of paper.  Then I placed the paper design on my fabric, and gave it a slight angle so the stripes weren't exactly vertical or horizontal, then cut it out.  I just laid it on the shirt, placed a few pins in, and zigzagged all the way around.  I played with a scrap of fabric first to make sure the zigzag settings would work.  That's it!  And uses hardly any fabric!


Friday, September 24, 2010

come on in.

Welcome to our house!  I have promised a lot of people pictures, so here's your virtual tour. So far, we love our home, and live in a wonderful neighborhood with the most amazing neighbors I could have ever imagined!

During our married lives, we've gone from our first place which was 400 square feet for 1.5 years, to a basement apartment for 1 year, to a stinky apartment for 6 months, to a wonderful apartment for 1.5 years, to my parent's attic for 2 years. We are beyond thrilled to be living in our first real house together after 7 years of marriage! We are so grateful for what we found, and have so many fond memories and moments to look forward to while living here. We have a long way to go until we're settled in!

All these pictures were taken about 2 weeks after we moved in.  I didn't clean my house the morning I took these pictures, so its very messy!  You get to see us at our worst.  But this should motivate me to get on the ball and post some "after" pictures.


Here is our front porch/driveway.  There were so many gorgeous plants when we first arrived.
A view of the front.  Our house is a grayish-blue. 
This is the basic view when you come in.  A closet, hallway leading to the eating area, an office to the left and the stairwell to the right.
The office.  I can't wait to post some updated pics, it looks much better now.  We're going for a black & white theme in this room with turquoise accents.

I can't believe I'm posting this picture! How embarrassing. But hey, its real life here.

The playroom (supposed to be the dining room).  
A view into the playroom from the kitchen.
The kitchen.  
The eating area.
A view into our family room.
A view of our backyard and deck, one of my favorite parts of this house!
The garage, right off the family room.
The dungeon.  This is where the laundry, food storage, and crafting area will be. 
Now we're upstairs.  This is baby brother's room.  I'd love to decorate it in a cowboy theme.
The girls room.  I can't wait to get started decorating!
The guest room.  We love to have visitors!
The upstairs bathroom.
Master bedroom- needs a lot of work!!
Master bathroom.
Master closet/toilet.
Random corner.

Hopefully more updated pictures to come soon!