Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Morning

My children tell me I have a cruel streak. While this is probably true I hope one day they will realize the things I do are for a reason.

My mother started a tradition with us kids, or at least tried to get it going for several years. Each Christmas we were not allowed to wake our parents before a certain time and we had to sing happy birthday to Jesus to remind us of the real reason for Christmas.

In my home the children are not allowed to wake me before 7:30 am (although this year they actually slept in a little). I always make breakfast and we eat as a family while discussing the birth of Christ and why we give gifts on Christmas. When they were younger I also had them sing happy birthday to Christ but this year decided they have now outgrown that part of it.

As I have done in several of the past years I made pecan praline baked french toast. I prepare it the night before and bake it in the morning.

The children feel that having to wait, eat and discuss the real meaning of Christmas is just my way of torturing them, but have learned to live with it.

My children where very generous as usual. They gave me a digital picture frame and also gave each other very thoughtful gifts. I, of course, decided to try a new virus for Christmas. It seems as if my body has decided to try every virus that comes within a block of me and see which one it one it likes best.

My friends and family were also very generous. I am thankful for everything I received and the time I was able to spend with my family.

As for my Christmas baking, it was limited this year. I made Oreo balls, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, toffee square cookies and white chocolate popcorn. Although it was not what I usually make everyone seemed to enjoy their basket of goodies.

Here are a few pictures of the kids opening gifts Christmas morning.

Christmas

It is traditional for our family to get together at Grandma and Grandpa Webster's house on Christmas Eve. Each year we gather, turn down the heat when Grandma is not looking (open the front door and and window or two) and have a light dinner together. This year we had a nice variety of sandwiches, fruit and cookies.

Jared, Coralee, Anthony and Samuel drove down from Utah. It was so nice to see them all and meet little Sam. The boys are so cute and well behaved, in fact so well behaved it is like they aren't even related! We enjoyed our time visiting with them and hope to be able to see them again soon.

Tara's friend Jacky joined us and Grandma told everyone he has been adopted by the family :)

After dinner we opened a few small gifts and said our goodbyes. My kids went to see their father for a few hours and got home a little after midnight.

As you can see below the kids are getting bigger and we all had a good time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Ward Christmas Party

Each year our ward has a Christmas party. There are performances by the primary children and a lot of wonderful food. Santa and Mrs. Clause always attend, and they always look very nice. Luis and Alma joined us this year and we had a good time visiting and enjoying the festivities.

Although my children are getting older, they still enjoy having their picture taken with Santa. As you can see they really have a good time with it.

The kids bake

In my home Christmas always involves a lot of baking. In fact as far as I am concerned it is not Christmas until the house smells like a bakery. I enjoy baking and am glad to see that my children are continuing the tradition. Last week Tara made cookies and put them in clear bags with tags for some of her friends at school, and Nathan made a batch of brownies for a few of his friends at school also. As you can see here they both did a wonderful job. Merry Christmas!


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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Look Mom We Made Dinner!

Granted, I never get enough sleep. It is a fact of life I have come to accept, but yesterday was one of those days I could have fallen asleep standing up. As I drove home I wasn't sure what I was going to do for dinner. All I wanted to do when I got home was rest for a while so that I could have enough energy to get something done.

Cut to me and Nathan walking in the kitchen door: Tara is chopping vegetables and Jackie (Tara's good friend and sidekick) is doing dishes.

As I come in the door Tara looks at me and get a big smile on her face as she announces "We're making dinner!" I think to myself 'Yeah! perfect!' and proceeded to get out of the way. A short semi-nap and an hour later this is what was produced for dinner (maybe not a combination I would have come up with but very good and heck beggars can't be choosers):

Chicken Tortilla Soup
From Goodies

Ground Beef and Potatoes
From Goodies

Paninis with Turkey,cheese, asparagus and mushrooms
From Goodies
As you can see Jackie was really enjoying his food :)

I told them that if the kitchen was cleaned up quickly enough I would make Berry muffins. At that point Ryan turned to Tara and said "You better hurry and get the kitchen clean." I guess he likes muffins.

Needless to say I did make the muffins. I decided to add sliced almonds to the muffin batter and topped them with additional almonds before baking. Here is the basic recipe. I like a muffin with a lot of berries so I add more and I always add different things (like cinnamon, vanilla, etc) and change it a little. Try playing with it a little and see what you get.

Three Berry Muffins
2 C. Flour
3/4 C. Sugar
2-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 C. Milk
1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
1-1/3 C. Berries (I like Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. In separate bowl whisk together milk, oil and eggs. Pour milk mixture into well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Carefully fold in the berries. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pick inserted comes out clean.
From Goodies

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving

In the past years, for most of my children's lives, we have spent Thanksgiving at my parents home. This year we decided to try something different and stayed home.

I prepared the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, and stuffing as well as asparagus, rolls and a vegetable tray. Tara helped me make a chocolate pecan pie, the yams, stuffing, asparagus and the turkey. She has decided that preparing the turkey is "gross." But, in the end she was very proud of the results.

Monte joined us and everyone enjoyed dinner.

We had a quiet day and enjoyed relaxing and spending time together. We missed seeing the rest of the family but also appreciated being able to work together, relax, watch movies and talk.

I am thankful for my wonderful children. They each have a caring heart and although they try to hide it most of the time, would do anything for each other. I am blessed with a supportive family and I appreciate their understanding our need to stay home this year.

Saturday we went to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Glendale Centre Theater. As usual it was very well done and we all enjoyed it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Card and certificate

I had the chance to play with my toys recently and made a birthday card and gift certificate for my friend Carol. Since I am a demonstrator for 'Stampin Up!' and Carol loves the products a few of us decided to give her a gift certificate. I didn't have any of the certificates that the company gives to the demonstrators so I asked Ryan to do the printing and I used my die cutter to cut the shape. I love the way it turned out.

From Birthday card & gift certificate
From Birthday card & gift certificate

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Halloween

Sorry it has taken me so long to post these but I tried to post them sooner but kept having trouble with uploading.

As you can see a good time was had by all this Halloween. I was a neglectful mother and forgot to take pictures of the kids on October 31st but actually remembered to take pictures at the ward Halloween party the next night. Tara was a cowgirl on Halloween, but a scary ballerina on for the party because the youth participated in the spook alley as usual. Nathan was a tetris game piece, he made the costume all on his own and worked really hard on it. He was understandably very upset when someone destroyed it after the party because they thought it was trash. Ryan was a very badly injured man, and it looked very real with the strobe lights flashing in the spook alley.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I have been searching the perfect pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe. It needed to be soft and moist without being sticky and limp, not have an over powering pumpkin taste, and be cakey and plump, and definitely not dense and heavy.

Well I searched and tried many different recipes and finally decided I needed to combine all I have learned and come up with my own version of the cookie.

Success! They are PERFECT! Soft, cakey, plump, just enough pumpkin and the spices are just enough to enhance but not outshine the rest of the cookie and not to sweet. So here is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Chocolate chip cookies

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed firmly
3/4 cup canola oil (vegetable oil is fine)
2 tsp. vanilla (I think pure vanilla is extract is the best)
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. fresh nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 T. baking powder
4 cups white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and very lightly grease cookie sheets (or use parchment paper).

Combine pumpkin, egg, sugars, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Beat until there are no lumps. Add the flour and stir just until it is mixed in, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets by spoonfuls (I used a cookie scoop), spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes until cooked through. Be careful not to over cook, cookies will not have browned on the bottom but will have a cake like consistency inside.

Remove from cookies sheet to cool on rack.


Makes about 3-1/2 dozen

From Goodies


As good as these are freshly baked, they are even better the next day. The flavors come together more and they become a little more moist (if stored in container or cover plate with plastic wrap or foil).

Really these are the perfect cookie for this time of year. Yes I am patting myself on the back =)

NOTE: I have found that putting these cookies in an airtight container or zip lock bag makes them become sticky. It may be best to lightly cover the cookies with foil. Good luck and enjoy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The perfect protein

So have you had those days when you have been sick for what feels like far to many days, the kids are hungry and there is nothing defrosted? Well that was Monday of this week.

I stood, in the middle of my kitchen and wondered what the heck am I going to make that won't take to much energy and will be healthy for the family. I looked in the cupboard and saw the can of kidney beans that has been there for almost a year (for last years chili cookoff). Okay, so that doesn't sound very good, but I did check the experation date and they were fine. As I stood there and stared at the can of beans I decided it was going to be a vegetarian night.....Red Beans and Rice!

So here is what I did:

Ingredients
Olive Oile
3/4 of an onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic (granulated is what I had on hand)
1-1/2 tsp. cumin
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/4 cup uncooked rice
2-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (only had low sodium but would usually use regular)

In a large skillet pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, heat. Add onion and celery and cook until soft. Add salt, galic and cumin. Stir and cook another minute or two. Add kidney beans, rice and broth. Cover and cook on meium low to medium until all liquid is obsorbed and rice is tender, add water if rice is not tender when all broth is obsorbed.
From Food


Here is the funny thing, the kids really liked it. They added a little tabasco and a veggie and where perfectly happy. So I guess the lesson here is don't slave over a hot stove forever, kids like the simple stuff just as well, go figure.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pasta with chicken, tomatoes and basil

On Sunday night I felt like I could finally do something so I decided dinner would probably be appreciated. Nathan went to the garden and picked some fresh basil, we sliced some sugar plum tomatoes (you could use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes), and went to work.

I boiled a box of thin spaghetti pasta (I have been using Barilla whole wheat pasta because it is so much healthier with protein and AHA Omega 3 added) and cooked 2 chicken half breasts seasoned with salt and garlic powder. Shredded the chicken and put it to the side.

In a skillet I put enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and added the tomatoes with some salt and cooked it on medium heat for about three minutes, gently stirring a couple of times. I then added two cloves of minced garlic and cooked it two or three minutes longer being careful not to burn the garlic. I added half of the pasta and tossed it with the tomatoes. I transferred the pasta and tomatoes to a large bowl and added the rest of the cooked pasta. I then drizzled the pasta with olive oil, tossed, added most of the chicken, tossed and added the basil....and tossed. I grated a good chunk of Parmesan cheese (don't you love the way I measure), probably about a handful and a half of finely grated cheese, and added some fresh cracked pepper and once again tossed.

This is what we ended up with. The kids LOVED it and all went back for seconds (funny how no one wanted seconds of the green beans I made on the side).












The tomatoes simmering, Nathan loved eating them right out of the pan.






After dinner I was wiped out so I went back to playing dead, but it seems that the time and effort were worth it though because the kids were very happy.

Dum Dum Flower pots

Well before I got sick this weekend I was able to finish the treat for the girls in Young Women. I made 'flower pots' with a Dum Dum sucker in the base with the stick as the stem for the 'flower.'

I very happy with how they came out, I copied them from dostampin.typepad.com

From Dum Dum flower pots
From Dum Dum flower pots


To bad I was to sick to go to church and give them to the girls, I guess I will have to give it to them on Wednesday or next Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prop 8

I know and love many people who are gay and when I first heard of prop 8 I didn't think I could support it. I would never support something that limited someones civil rights. But the more I read the more it makes me realize that both freedom of speech and religious beliefs are at risk.

Should Prop 8 fail, not only could many Churches lose their tax exempt status and possibly have to shut their doors but, adoption agencies, family owned businesses and many others may also be at risk should they refuse to services to gay couples. Take for instance the family owned photography business that was fined $6,600 because they refused to photgraph a gay ceremony due to religious beliefs (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=61342 ).

And, if you think about it, could this mean that there is also a real possibility that the LDS temples in California would have to be closed should someone choose to challenge the requirement set by the Church?

It hurts me to think that the ones I love may support something that will limit MY civil rights while theirs aren't at risk to begin with.

And, why is it that some feel the need to use offensive language? Is it as they say "A feeble mind trying to express itself?" http://www.flickr.com/photos/31610199@N05/2961598988/

An article on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486191

Ok I am done rambling.....................

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A little time to play

I don't get to spend as much time as I would like making cards and working on crafts. But every once in a while I can find an excuse to do a few things. It is amazing how happy I am when I finish a project no matter how small it may be. I know it may not seem like much but it works for me.

Here is a card for one of the sisters I visit teach.

Card for a someone at work



I needed a more masculine card and I have been wanting to use the thin cork I have for a card and came up with this. I know the 'ribbon' is not what some would can masculine but I couldn't help myself.
And one more using the same leaves but with a more femine touch.


Well so much for play time.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tara is so adorable.

Okay so my mom (Laura) is amazing. You all should know that by now. No matter what happens shes there through thick and thin. She pretty much does everything for us and without her I don't know where we would be now. To make it simple if I didn't have her I wouldn't be who i am today. I may say that I don't want to be like my mom when I grow up, but when I really think about it I already am like her in so many ways. I want to be like her even though I try to convince myself that I don't, but I do. She's smart, beautiful (of course), strong, independent, and she knows how to handle! So when you think about it, who wouldn't want to be like her? Shes an amazing woman and for all that she's been through she deserves so much more than she's getting. So I just wanted to say that I love my mom. even though I may think she's "annoying" sometimes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marinated Baked Pork Chops

These are moist and tender. The sauce would be good on chicken also.


3 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
6 tablespoons ketchup
5-6 pork chops, trimmed

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a small bowl, thoroughly blend soy sauce, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup. Pour Sauce over pork chops and marinade from 30 minutes to all day. Place pork chops in a medium baking dish, pour all sauce from marinade over pork chops, cover.
Bake pork chops 45-60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until internal temperature of the chops has reached 160 degrees F and juices run clear.

Great for the grill if you like.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goodies

Yesterday I decided it was time to make goodies for the family and for one of the ladies I visit teach. Lindsey, my friend Carol's daughter made some white chocolate popcorn so of course I had to try it. The kids really like it and it was fun to make. It looks nice in a clear bag with a ribbon and makes a nice little gift for people.
White Chocolate Popcorn
2 (3 1/3 oz) bags microwave popcorn (not the butter kind)
6 oz. white melting chocolate, melted
assorted candies
First instead of microwave popcorn I made some stove top popcorn and salted it a little. I used 2/3 unpopped kernels and removed about 2 cups of the popped corn.
So, put your popped corn in a large bowl and chop up any candy bars you would like to use. I used snickers, twix, m&m's and peanut m&m's (m&m obviously don't need to be chopped). spread candy on wax paper. Drizzle melted chocolate on popcorn, stirring and making sure not to saturate the corn. Drizzle candy with chocolate. Put popcorn and candy in refrigerator to harden the white chocolate. Combine the popcorn and candy once white chocolate hardens. Enjoy!



Now if that is not decadent enought for you, how about some oreo balls?

Oreo Balls

Ingredients

· 1 package Oreo cookies
· 1- 8 oz package cream cheese (the block of cream cheese not the tubs)
· 1 pound DARK melting chocolate (Some stores now carry the microwave kind!)

Directions

Place cream cheese in a bowl to soften.
In a food processor, process a bag of Oreo cookies until all you have is Oreo cookie crumbs (no chunks!).
Add the cookie crumbs to the softened cream cheese, then mix.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
Make small bite sized balls and place on cookie sheet.
Chill for an at least 1 hour. This is a good place to stop if you want to chill the little tasty little treats overnight.
While the little balls are chilling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you were fortunate to find one of the microwavable melting chocolates, even better!
Dip chilled balls into melted chocolate, then place balls back on the wax paper and let harden.
Store covered balls in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Both of these came out really well and the kids enjoyed them. Guess what we might be making for Christmas =)
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Young Women's value of the month

This month in Young Women we are focusing on the "Choice and Accountability" value. I stole a few ideas from others and combined them. This is what I came up with:



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Being that it was Fast Sunday I thought gumballs would be a safe choice for a little treat. Now I need to figure out how I want to do next weeks treat.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong

MURPHY'S LAWS
1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.

2. Everything takes longer than you think.

3. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

4. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong. Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.

5. If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.

6. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

7. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

8. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

9. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

10.Mother nature is a **tch. (oooopsss, bad word alert)

11. It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

12. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.

13. Every solution breeds new problems.

So there is Murphy's laws. All of you know I am living breathing proof that these are in full force.

I do try to keep a positive attitude as much as possible. I don't like the person I become when I allow negativity to rule my day. But, it is so darned difficult at times. It seems like just when things are going well I am blind sighted once again.

So here we go.....positive, positive, positive.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The little things

I know I shouldn't be so happy about this but I am. Look at this......

Cold Stone now has YOGURT! Tart and light, it is a beautiful thing. I had it with raspberries and chocolate shavings and all can say is YUM! Don't get me wrong, I like ice cream, but lately I have become almost addicted to yogurt. And not the frozen yogurt that tastes almost like ice cream but that wonderfully tart variety. Soft serve is my favorite but when Cold Stone gives you a free birthday creation well, what can I say?

Also, I had a coupon for a free salad at McDonalds today. Free salad, free yogurt, life is good.

It is the little things that can make a difference in your day and sometimes that little thing it free salad and yogurt. Really makes me wonder though, if this is all it takes to perk up my day does that mean there is not much to my life or that my life is so good that the little things just give me that extra little jolt. Good life, good life, good life......

On anther note, the principal at Tara's school made a promise to the students last school year. He said that if if they brought up the test scores he would shave his head, well he kept his promise, follow the link:

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/video?id=6414902

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sweet Sixteen!

Tara is 16!

Saturday my beautiful daughter became 16. When I asked her what she would like to do on her birthday she said "Go have a nice dinner with my family." She was not interested in having a "Sweet Sixteen" party or having everyone come to the house and do the usual family party.

It took a few days but she finally decided to go the Romano's Macaroni Grill for dinner. Everyone had a good time and it was nice to spend time with the family. It was our poor waitress' fifth day on the job and she was given our bunch! You had to feel sorry for her, but she did well all things considered.

video


Luis showed the boys how to make a rose from a paper napkin and two peaks from a linen napkin so it looked like breasts. They boys thought this was very funny and all got a good laugh out of it. We will have to find a way to 'thank' Luis for that, I am sure I can come up with something creative. :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TARA! :D

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Birthdays

Birthdays, they can be full of joy and pain. So many people dread having them but really isn't it better than the alternative?

As children we look forward to each birthday. If there is a party or the family comes over we can hardly wait to tear into the gifts. Cake, ice cream, friends and family all take a distant second to the mystery of what is in those packages.

As we get older birthdays become less and less important until most of the time they just seem like just another day. I don't think about my birthday very often but am always pleasantly surprised at how wonderful they end up being. My family and friends are always so good to me. It doesn't take much but I appreciate all they do and I have to admit it is nice having people do things for you sometimes.

Sunday Tara came to me as I was cleaning the kitchen. Here is how the conversation went:

Tara: "Mom, do you know what this Saturday is?"

Me: "It is your birthday. Did you think I could forget?"

Tara: "No, I forgot and Jackie just reminded me"

Me: "Well more importantly, do you know what Thursday is?"

Tara: "Your birthday!"

Me: "Glad to know you remember the important days" (smile)

So today is that important day. The kids were excited to give me my gift. They came out of the bedroom this morning singing "Happy Birthday," all three to a different tune. They wanted me to open the gift and card from Dad and Amy first because "we don't know what it is." (My kids, curiosity always gets to them.) Dad and Amy gave me some very nice earrings.

The kids then gave me their gift. Prismacolor markers! They are so smart, they know that craft supplies is always a good thing for Mom.

Friends were very generous and gave me some very nice things, I can't wait to have some time to play with my new toys :)

My sister made me cry, in a good way, by sending me flowers and a nice message, so all in all today has been a wonderful day.

I am lucky to have so many people who love and care about me. There are times I wonder what I have done to deserve all of this.......and then other times.....well I do have teenagers. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thinking....see the smoke?

Recently I have been thinking I need to start a blog. In my usual fashion I start to consider what I would want the blog to be about or represent. Many ideas come to my mind and most of them just seemed to specific, labor intensive or just plain old boring. So I neatly, (the only neat thing in my life at the moment) tucked the ideas into the back of my mind and moved on with my hectic life.

I am the lucky Young Woman's leader who this month gets to present the value we have chosen to focus on. The value and corresponding color for the month is "knowledge" and green. I have spent some time wondering how I was going to present this to the Young Women this Sunday and make it a little less boring than going to the dentist and do it in just a few minutes. Oh and let us not forget the girls love treats. So I am wandering around Costco with Ryan yesterday and think to myself "You should really go look at the candy and other treats, maybe you will find something green to give the girls." As I peruse the isle I come across "Airhead" candy and the light goes on! Knowledge.....don't be an airhead.....oh my gosh this could work......woohoo.

I come home get things put away, stop the kids from eating the Airheads (there are 90 candies but I haven't figured out how I am going to work it out so no one can touch them) and start looking at my craft supplies. Now anyone who knows me, knows that my craft supplies go on and on and on, there really should be a 12 step program. Anyway, I get this idea to wrap the candy in card stock (decorated with one or more of my many rubber stamps), decorate it with a ribbon and attach the word knowledge with the little blurb from the personal progress book. I then find a font that matches the lettering on the candy and print "Don't be an" on the clear labels and stick them to the front of the candies, so it reads "Don't be an ... Airheads." Yes I know Airheads is plural but it is all I had to work with. And this is what I ended up with............

The tag on each of the treats read "Knowledge I will continually seek opportunities forlearing and for growth."

So there I am posting these pictures to a craft site I am part of and I think to myself "You need to start that blog," and here we are back at the beginning of the story. So I have decided to start the blog and have the subject be what hits my fancy the day I am posting, whether it is my crafts, others crafts that I think are an inspiration, the kids and their antics, recipe successes and failures, a book I am reading, church or just my gripes and complaints of the day.

So this how my mind works, or doesn't work depending on how you look at it, you never know when something will inspire me or how it will but it all seems to come together in a neat little mess when I am done :)