Saturday, April 30, 2011


We're kinda lame slash cheap slash both and still haven't got cable or tv since moving here last summer. Most days I don't miss it at all, but a day like today we (ok, me... T-man doesn't pay much attention to this sort of thing, though he did miss it during march madness) wish we had cable. I would have loved watching royal wedding coverage on tv all day long, but its just as well that I only spent about 15 minutes reading about it on the internet. I don't know much about it, but from I what I gathered through pictures and video clips, I basically have two things to say.
1) William and Kate and their wedding were magnificent.
2) HATS!!!

Hats! I'm just slightly bitter that here in the U.S. we haven't embraced this fashion statement like the British have. I loved seeing all the fun hats the ladies were wearing. Even though some of them were absolutely over the top and a bit gawdy, still, so fun. It makes me want to have a big hat party in my backyard.

I had no idea it was such a custom, such a statement.
I can't stop googling royal wedding hats. 
Here's a few that caught my eye.

images found here

This is my absolute favorite. love the lines.

Let's just pretend that I didn't used to have a mad crush on Prince William when I was in middle school. Oh, that's embarrassing. I might even still have a teeny bopper book that one of my sisters gave to me for Christmas, all about him. Oh, dear.

Friday, April 22, 2011

prom photography

There is nothing more fun to photograph than pretty teenagers in pretty dresses. Prom season is among us. I don't get to take pictures of my sister's senior prom this year. I'm so sad! Here are a few of my favorites from her junior and sophomore proms that I took over the last two years. I miss her!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

paint chip easter egg banner and easter egg advent

I did two fun things this year in preparation for Easter that I thought I'd point out. 

Easter Egg Paint Chip Banner:

I made this little banner using Martha Steward paint chips cards from Home Depot. I used my favorite pastels, traced an egg shape on the back of the card, cut them out, punched holes, and strung a ribbon through to create this easy banner. It would be even cuter with the words "Happy Easter" written across, which I plan to add. Easy, quick, and free! Thanks Martha.

Easter Advent:

The eggs you see in my glass vase contain a religious countdown to Easter, recounting the last days of Christ's life through scriptures. I'm sure you've seen this idea all over blogland. Here's a link to check out. You choose one egg and read the scripture each night, 12 days before Easter (since there are 12 scriptures). However, I like the idea of starting on Palm Sunday, and having the countdown only last 7 days, and then talking about how to apply the scripture to our family. So, I've kind of revamped the idea to suit our families needs, but this is a great starting point. Here is the text, from the blog "Or So She Says."

Egg 1:

Three dimes
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Matthew. 26:14)

14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,

15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

Egg 2:

One sacrament cup
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Matt. 26:39)

39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Egg 3:

Twine with knots in it
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:

(Matt. 27:1)

1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:

2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Egg 4:

A piece of soap
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Matt. 27:24)
24 ¶¶ When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

26 ¶¶ Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Egg 5:

Square of red fabric
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Matt. 27:28)

28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

29 ¶¶ And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

Egg 6:

A small nail
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Matt. 27:31)

31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

Egg 7:

Two dice
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Matt. 27:35)

35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

36 And sitting down they watched him there

Egg 8:

A tiny bag of crushed rock
And a small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Matt. 27:50, 51 & 54)

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

Egg 9:

Strip of white cloth
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference
(Matt. 27:58)
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

Egg 10:

A stone
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference...
(Matthew 27:65)

65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Egg 11:

Bayleaf spice
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Mark 16:1-4)

1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Egg 12:

An empty egg
A small piece of paper with the following verse reference:
(Mark 16:5-6)

5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Paris Gallery Wall

**I've already posted pics of this space in our office, and you're probably tired of seeing this room! But it's the only room in our house that's somewhat finished, so here's a closer look at one of my favorite areas so far. And, I promise I'm making progress on the rest of our house. I'm slow, but soon I'll have more to share.**

I love Paris. Can you tell? I spent one of the happiest semesters of my life in Paris. I still think about it every day. Here is my shrine to the city I love.
There's really no rhyme or reason to my gallery of Paris things on the wall. I was yapping away with my sister on the phone late one night, and before I knew it, here's what I'd done.

A few of my tips for creating a gallery wall:
1. You can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. I myself am more of a symmetrical person, but since the balance here looks pretty good, I'm actually glad I stepped outside the box on this one.
2. It's a great way to cram a lot of pretty things into a small space. I've seen some walls that are too crowded, so my advice is just not to go overboard. I don't like to get dizzy, and if the wall makes me dizzy, its too much.
3. Gallery walls are also great if you're unable to paint the wall. Eventually I'd love to paint this room, but its all a matter of saving up the $ to do so. In the meantime, I have plenty to look at.
4. Go all the way up to the ceiling! It makes your room look bigger.
5. Add texture. I've got flat, shelving, and frames. 
6. Hang items, lean items, place them on other items, etc.... for more interest.
6. Focal point- not always necessary in a gallery wall, but if you have a favorite item, try to highlight it.
7. Mix and match function with decor. The light, clock, and my message board are the function, but tie in nicely with the rest of the decor.
8. Arrange items on the floor before hanging them up on the wall to see how they work together and play off each other.

The color scheme of our office is black, white and turquoise. I spray painted the frame to bring in more color. (pay no attention to those nail holes!)
I've always loved this silhouette my sister gave me years ago. (from Hobby Lobby)
The lamp is from Target, and the toile (my fave) lampshade I found while thrifting. It was broken, but an easy fix and a great price! Ah, and one of my favorite wedding pictures.
A little message board one of my Paris Girls gave to me years ago (thanks Allison)! In its first life, it was white. I decided to change it up. I first pulled off the buttons, then covered it tight with this fabric, and stapled it on the back. I stapled ribbon to the back (and you can see I ran out, and need to buy more). Then, I glued the buttons back in place. Easy!
Displaying that Home Ec degree.
Another glance.
I need to update the mouse pad (I'm going to cover it in the same fabric as my message board), but other than that, voila!

Monday, April 11, 2011

tropical carrot cake. german chocolate cake. perfectly chocolate cake.

We recently celebrated 3 birthdays at our house, all 3 belonging to each of my children. Here are the cakes I made.... (Yes each got their own homemade cake! That's a lot of cake. I always tell my husband that one of his biggest weaknesses is that he doesn't like cake! Haha, love him. But I really wish he would eat cake with me. I love cake, so I happily make it for every birthday, except his)!

Tropical Carrot Cake:
Since the Easter Bunny will be making his appearance soon, this would be the perfect cake to make on Easter Sunday. The tropical part (coconut milk, pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts) is a delicious surprise. I used this recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Annie's Eats. (She is a resident physician, I don't know how she has the time to bake and photograph such amazing food)!
The only change I made was substituting 1 cup applesauce in place of 1 cup of oil. I only had a few minutes to decorate the cake, so my version is a little sloppy, with toasted coconut garnish.

German Chocolate Cake:
This has been on my bucket list of things to bake for my entire life! It was a lot of work, but a definite success! I used a recipe again from Annie's Eats, and here is the one change I made:
It calls for a rum syrup to be poured over the cake (talk about making it moist)! Instead of using real rum, I used 1/2 tsp rum extract. (It was for my 3 year old, although really I was trying to impress my father-in-law. This is his favorite, tehe). Turned out great! This was my favorite cake to make, and eat!

Perfectly Chocolate Cake:
I used Hershey's recipe, blogged about here. This makes the BEST chocolate frosting. 
My daughter decorated the cake with her choice- marshmallows!

Friday, April 8, 2011

toilet paper topiary

So, this is a really random post.
What kind of human being finds great satisfaction after decorating their toilet paper? Me.
At least I know I'm not alone. My friend Kim, who was here to visit, noticed them right off and asked, "Did you make those little green balls on your toilet paper?" Uh, yeah... we're ridiculous like that.


You pretty much get the gist of the whole project right here in this picture. Buy a sprig of greenery, mine was half-price at Hobby Lobby for $4. You'll need a styrafoam ball, and could spray paint it black or green to hide the while, but I didn't bother. Then you pull off each little stem (or have your kids do it, they'll love it, I promise), cut them in half, and poke them into the ball. 30 minutes later we had 3 little green topiary balls. One sprig made 3 topiaries, which came out to about $1.50 each, including the foam ball.
These were copied inspired from this post at Thrifty Decor Chick. She's so creative.
(What's not pretty is that towel rack from back in the 90's. Rather than take it down, it was just easier to play it up and hang some towels. I hardly notice it now).
I've been moving them around. I like them here on our medicine cabinet too. 
I might have to make a few more.

ps- Jess, thanks for the cute tp holder! I used it to grow herbs in my kitchen, but I made a huge mess. So, I moved them upstairs to the bathroom. :)


Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

i am posting a clogging video.

A few of my friends asked for it, so here ya go!

I used to be a member of a clogging group in South Dakota called Black Hills in Motion. Here's my good friend Kayla and I dancing at the 4th of July Heritage Festival. 
You can check out the website here. (Miss you Kayla)!

I've since moved, and I miss clogging so much! I'm so happy that my daughters are getting big enough to learn. We've been having mini clogging sessions at home, and they're coming right along. They've got their double-step rock steps down pretty well!

I'm so excited to announce that I'll be teaching beginning clogging starting in July at the Parks and Rec. If you're a local friend and want more info, just leave me a comment.

Back to the video, I was about 3 months preggo with my 3rd child, so don't mind my mistakes at the end. I'm not a professional! 
The best part is our audience. Well, its actually kinda sad. He is not drunk not distracting at all. 
Good old SD. Good times. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

General Conference Activities for kids

General Conference is today! In my church, twice a year we gather in our homes or church buildings to watch or listen to our leaders speak to us via a big satellite broadcast from Salt Lake City, through talks, messages, and music. It is a big time commitment, lasting 8 hours in broken up sessions over the weekend.  It's also a really special time to be filled with inspiration, personal revelation, and a resolve to improve yourself by serving more, loving more, being more patient, more honest, more giving, more loving, more dedicated. Troy and I look forward to it every year. Today's technology makes it really easy to look up the talks given, to review or read if you were unable to watch it live (such is Troy's case today since he had to work).

My family always had fun traditions to go along with conference when I was little. We didn't have the option of watching it in our homes, so we always got dressed up for all 4 sessions and had a great time eating out or shopping or going to the local craft shows in between sessions. But today, we can watch/listen via internet or TV without leaving the comfort of home. It took me a while to get used to watching it at home, it was harder to pay attention at first. There's always so many distractions at home.  But I've learned to put those aside, and really make conference something special in our home. It's nice to have the extra spirit of conference surround us within the very walls which we live. I like to prepare by having a clean house, food to make, and meaningful activities for the kids, so its not just a regular day around here. I guess you could say I have high expectations for me and my family when it comes to conference. I feel like I need the counsel, the stories, the spirit I feel when I listen, to be present in my life. It's important to me to set aside special time to watch it together as a family, to teach our kids that listening to our church leaders is really important. It's amazing how our kids look forward to it, and I'm sure its because they recognize the spirit they've felt during conference, and they know its a special event. They love looking for things they recognize- songs they know, faces such as the prophet, and key phrases or words like baptism, Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost, love, sharing, etc.

Anyone is welcome to watch. You can visit here to see it on the internet.

Here are the general conference traditions we've started as a family:
*cinnamon rolls
*building a tent/fort to snuggle and watch conference in (similar to the idea of how the ancient prophet, King Benjamin, would address his people, and they would gather in tents with the doors facing him so they could hear what he was saying, we don't always do this, but it can be fun).
*conference packets- There are several amazing ladies who have created beautiful packets for kids of all ages to work on so they too can participate. Here are links to activities I've printed off. Visit for more great ideas.
---here This packet comes from and is 21 pages long. A little tip: just print off the last 3 pages for a really cool apostle chain. I'll post a picture once my girls have completed it. It looks really fun!
---here I used to be in Jennifer Lund's ward in Provo. She in one amazing mom, and this packet is awesome!
---here A few great ideas from the blog Oopsey Daisy.

Anyone else out there have some fun General Conference ideas or traditions they'd like to share? I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!

Friday, April 1, 2011


OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was just notified that I am the winner of the Better Homes and Gardens Total Kitchen Makeover, worth $25,000.

I need to start brainstorming ideas! 


This is amazing! 

I can't believe it!

And by the way....

I wish.

I wish.

This isn't even a real contest.

I just made it up.

April Fools!