Things I Loved This Past Spring

August 18th, 2015 in About Me

I’m having to think a few months back to what we were up to! We moved just a couple streets over, same ward & friends & neighborhood. Just a better fit of a house for our family. I was called as the ward’s Young Women President. Also doing double duty with camp, it was ward camp this year and I survived. With a help from a lot of other women, I survived. Our company takes a lot of my time, I need to join a support group for other self employed folks. Its been pretty high stress lately. We have had tons of out of town visitors, Tyler has gone out of town a lot, and the girls are go go go. I don’t have extra time really for hobbies or to even handle all on my plate. So I’m trying to figure out how to handle everything, I know I will figure it out! It sure is a different phase of life right now.

But let me think back to the Spring and what else we were doing during April, May & June.

#1 Before we moved I survived potty training my last child. I survived, with gritted teeth the entire time, I survived. Boy oh boy is this my last child for sure. Life of the party and the hardest thing all in one this sweet girl.

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#2 We sold our Herriman home. That was an unbelievable nightmare, I can’t even really get into it. But dealing with contractors, mold, huge mess ups, dishonest title companies & a million other things. All I can say is, only my sister in law knows everything that happened to me with this. And its a miracle I didn’t get sent to the looney bin during this time.

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#3 Abby & Cameron attended some spring break camps at the Leonardo & the Natural History Museum. Shae, Reagan, and I always have a blast going from museum to museum in SLC doing whatever we please.

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#4 The girls had gorgeous Easter dresses. I feel like this should be something I get paid millions to do by celebrities, pick out their kid’s holiday wear. Sign me up for that. I am trying to remember what else we did for Easter but all I’m remembering is there was a donut tree at someone’s home. Maybe that was Easter…I’m going to have to remember what we did for Easter!

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#5 For my birthday the girls and I went to get our hair did and bought matching shirts. Tyler and I spent the weekend at the Grand America and did our first ever spa day. We loved it, we could become addicted. Also the brunch at Grand America, I’ve never experienced anything like it. Lobster to Paella to Swan Cream Puffs to a Crepe Bar. A CREPE BAR!

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#6 We were featured on the LDSChurch instagram page. Which was pretty special!

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#7 Our company won Best of State and Tyler & I attended the gala. I have given up on the fancy dresses and wore pants. I will never go back to a dress again.

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#8 The girls did a wonderful job in there piano recital, video for grandparents here.

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#9 We had a few visitors this spring (this summer wow have we had tons!), we had Tyler’s sweet mom and Tyler’s sweet aunt & uncle. We also took my mom out for her birthday to a Japanese restaurant.

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#10 We ended Spring with our huge dance recital and then running away to Seattle. That is what I will blog about next!

 

Life is fast, life is busy, life is hard, life is spilling over, life is in a different phase, life is good.

We’ve missed you all!

Still Here

July 31st, 2015 in Uncategorized

Life is busy, I miss recording our family life.

I think after one more very busy week I will have time to blog.

For now here is a recent picture of my beauties:

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Shae’s Dinosaur Party

May 11th, 2015 in Parties

Since we moved (same neighborhood & ward, just a better house) in April I had Shae pick anywhere she wanted other than our house to do her birthday party. Every time we get in the car she asks to go to the dinosaur museum, so of course she picked a birthday party at the dinosaur museum. Which is the Natural History Museum of Utah in SLC that we go to at least once a week. She invited some of her little friends from the neighborhood, her cousins, and sisters. Some of her friends weren’t able to come, which ended up being fine, it was hard to get those kids into and out of the museum safely!

My mom made these adorable dresses for Shae & Reagan for the party and I bought the older girls dinosaur shirts to match.

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The museum took care of everything but what we wanted to eat, which was a beautiful cake Shae picked out on Pinterest. She needed the dinosaur a particular color and picked out the type of dinosaur she wanted as well.


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The girls had fun working through the stations all set up, walking through the museum, and laying down in a T-Rex footprint. It really was the easiest party (and probably cheapest) I have ever thrown!

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Shae loved her cake & her friends singing to her:
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Shae Birthday 4th from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Shae getting ready in the car with her neighborhood friends at the beginning of the party:

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And Shae at the end:

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She had enough at the end of the day of being the birthday girl ;) But it was a perfect birthday party for her! Dinosaurs really are her favorite thing.

Shae Turns 4!

May 11th, 2015 in About Me

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Last month it was Shae’s birthday, she turned 4. Shae has changed a lot over this past year. Her interests, favorite things, and personality. This year she became a Sunbeam and really loved her teachers. She started a once a week preschool, twice a week tumbling classes, and weekly tap, jazz, and ballet. I really thought when she started all of these things it would be a struggle to get her into class and to warm up. Not so! She has so much fun, sometimes is a real awful listener, and loves to make new friends. She was (and still is) such a soft hearted sweetheart I thought maybe she would be on the quiet side. Not so! Her favorite things are her sisters. She is my one daughter that I really believe prefers her sisters over me. Which is ok!

Her personality is so fun:

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Shae loves to bake, relax & watch TV, play with her friends, play pretend with her little figurines, and do crafts.

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Shae Shae asked for “breakfast cookies, bunny milk, and cinnamon rolls” for her birthday breakfast. We also got her a few colors of daisies for her birthday flower.
Shae loves dinosaurs and had a dinosaur party earlier that week, so along with her breakfast she met a new blow up friend!

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For her birthday she received for “to play” some plush dinosaurs. For “something pretty” the Pretty Pretty Princess game. For “something to read” princess books and for “something to wear” a bunny outfit.

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Later that night I made her a bunny pizza, which she adored, and then did not eat.

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My favorite thing on that day was letting Shae stay up and just hang out with me. She is a fun girl who is always so well behaved until night time where she turns into a crazy lady ;)

Healthy Mother’s Day 3 Course Dinner by Abby

May 4th, 2015 in recipes

Abby was very particular about what she wanted to make for her videos, a lot of thought goes into these! This was a long day of work for her because she did three recipes. They all turned out very well, enjoy!

Healthy Mother’s Day 3 Course Dinner by Abby

Berry Cheese Bites, Spring Chicken Soup with Quinoa,

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana “Ice Cream”

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Appetizer: Berry Cheese Bites

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Ingredients:

1 box of honey cinnamon nut thins (you could use graham crackers)

1 container of Laughing Cow Swiss cheese (you could use cream cheese)

2 containers of berries (blackberry, raspberry, blueberry)

1 container of honey (we used wildflower flavored honey)

Directions:

Slater the cheese on the cracker, top with berry, drizzle with honey

Main Dish: Spring Chicken Soup with Quinoa

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Ingredients:

1 package of edible flowers

1 container or 4 cups of chicken stock

3 lemons (one for juice & zesting and two for slices to go on top)

1 leek, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 chicken breasts, shredded

1 1/2 cup of peas

10 leaves of basil

1 teaspoon of herbs de provence

salt & pepper

2 cups of cooked quinoa

Directions:

1. Saute in olive oil the carrots and leeks for 5 minutes. In the last 3o second add in the garlic.

2. Add in the herbs de provence, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.

3. Add in the lemon juice & zest from one lemon, peas, chicken, and zucchini. Cook just for 3 minutes so none of those ingredients get soggy.

4. In a bowl put 1/4 cup of quinoa, and top soup on top.

5. Top soup with a basil leaf, edible flower, and lemon wedge.

 

Dessert: Chocolate Hazelnut Banana “Ice Cream”

I’m sure you all have heard of the frozen banana in blender, turns into ice cream trick. It really is good. Abby thought it would be fun to add her favorite snack which are Justine’s Chocolate Hazlenut packets. Really does add a lot of flavor!

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Ingredients:

3-4 ripe bananas

4 packages of Justine’s Chocolate Hazlenut packets

Directions:

Slice the ripe bananas and lay slices on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Let freeze for at least 4 hours.

2. Put bananas slices and chocolate hazlenut in blender or food processor.

3. Blend and serve! We did have to throw in 1-2 tablespoons of milk (any kind would do) to get it to move around easier in the blender.

4. Top with edible flowers and if you would like honey fried bananas.

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Wala! Abby worked so hard she actually broke down at the end. You probably can’t tell, but she was so tired. Never three recipes again in one day! Make sure to watch her cute self here:

Healthy Mother’s Day Breakfast by Cameron

May 4th, 2015 in recipes

Cameron has an odd obsession with bacon and eggs. One night on a special outing with her dad he drove to three different restaurants in search of a place that served bacon and eggs at 8pm. One day she has a quiche and her love of bacon and eggs grew even more. So for her Mother’s Day breakfast she chose to make one. I told her to make it healthy and so she wanted to teach you the trick about vegetable rainbow sprinkles. Stay tuned for what those are…

Mother’s Day Healthy Brunch or Breakfast: Vegetable Rainbow Sprinkle Quiche & Apple Berry Smoothie

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Bacon & Cheese Quiche with Veggie Sprinkles

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This recipe makes two Quiches

Ingredients (see above):

2 prepared pie crusts

8 eggs

1 can of evaporated milk

4 ounces of parmesan cheese

8 ounces of cheddar cheese

1 onion

2 peppers (red, yellow, or orange)

4 mushrooms

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

3 cloves of garlic

1 package of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1. To make the veggie sprinkles put all of the vegetables in a strong blender or a food processor and grind till fine. Place a towel or cheese cloth in a bowl and place the ground up vegetables in the cloth. Let sit and also squeeze all the water out.

2. In another bowl combine the eggs, milk, bacon, salt and pepper. Then add in the drained “vegetable rainbow sprinkles” and stir.

3. Pour mixture into the two pie crusts.

4. Cute a piece of foil with a large hole in it, place it over the curst of the Quiche so the pie crust does not burn.

5. Bake on 375 for 45-60 minutes, until the eggs are cooked well.

To get more of a feel for the vegetable sprinkles and to see Cameron pretend to barf while having to touch the vegetables you really should watch the how to video at the end of this post.

Apple Berry Smoothie

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup of ground flax seeds

1/4 cup of chai seeds

2 red delicious apples

1 package of an assortment of berries

1 large container of coconut water

1 large cup of ice

Just simply blend and enjoy!

Check out her video here:

Kid Scientist Party

March 19th, 2015 in Parties

Alright my friends, I organized this party well, real well. So I will write out a detailed post in case there is another mom out there trying to plan a science party for their kid. This party will be good for the boys or girls out there, this is not a gender specific party!

Kid Science Party

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Invitation:

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Decorations:

I’ll link to the places on Etsy where I got the cute posters, the shop owners customize them for you with your child’s name and age. The black backdrop below is from Sugar Sweet Printables shop on Etsy. The backdrop we used during the science demonstration below is from the is from Crackers Art shop on Etsy. We used some of her other products throughout the party as well.

I bought some beakers from Amazon and filled them with warm water, dry ice, and food coloring. The tables were covered in a science print paper and I bought some “retro” science posters online to put different places. The plates,napkins, and glasses are from The Land of Nod.

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Food:

A huge science cake to feed all that we invited and sugar cookies that they each took home as a party favor. We also had the pizza man stop by for lunch.

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Costumes:

Well not really costumes but my brothers who were the “scientists” I got their lab coats and wigs off of Oriental Trading. Abby’s lab coat was from there as well. The girls, I don’t know if you can see in the pictures had these super cute science shirts on. I found those at the NonFiction Tees Etsy shop.

Party Favors:

Party Favors are my favorite part of the party. This year we did glasses from Oriental Trading, disposable lab coats from Amazon, and scientist badges. Aren’t they adorable? They also went home with a party bag (bags from The Land of Nod) with a rock candy lollipop and sugar cookie. They also could take their lab coats, glasses, AND best part…their scientist badges & lanyard home.

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That was the back of the badges

 

Stations:

So my sweet daughter Abby has a lot of friends and she is over worried of leaving anyone out. With her parties I have to divide the guests up into teams. The badges they had were divided into 5 different colors of the fingerprints. That is the group they were in. Two years in a row I have asked our favorite babysitters to come help me with the parties. Each of them run a station. This year I picked very inexpensive science experiments. I had the helpers come early so they could practice outloud a few times the experiment and explaining a short “science” behind it. Then I also had them ready with a back up game if they finished early. Anything from bubble gum bubble gum in a dish to charades. All free things that no supplies were needed. But things that would keep the girls in place and not get them loud. These are the stations we did…

 #1 Static Electricity with a Balloon & Gelatin aka Electric Gelati

 

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#2 Invisible Ink with Lemon Juice 

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#3 Bouncing Bubbles with Cotton Gloves 

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 #4 Your Tastebuds & Smell! Potatoes vs Apples 

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#5 Mega Magnet Experiments with Paperclips & Water 

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Demonstration:

With these large groups I like to do the stations and then one big “demonstration” assembly style. My brothers came over the week before and we practiced these experiments for them to do in front of the kids. The five experiments I had them do, none of them made a mess and make me lose a deposit on the room we rented. Steve Spangler is a perfect place to get ideas for experiments and buy some kits. I also had printouts of my brothers to read to explain a bit of the science behind every experiment.

#1 Dry Ice Bubble

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#2 Cloud in a Bottle (the stopper was a tough one to find so I ended up buying this kit which is priced very fairly) 

#3 Blowing up a Balloon with a Bottle 

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#4 Fitting an Egg Into a Small Bottle magically. 

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#5 Film Canister, this is a fun one! Steve did it on the Ellen show. The girls as you can see from this picture loved the result…

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It just was such a fun fun party! Thank you to all those that helped me out.

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Little video of the party here.

Abby Rae Turns 9

March 19th, 2015 in About Me

Well I knew it, I just knew it. I did a joint baby shower for my two cousins two years back. While hanging up pictures of them on a long string from birth to engagement photos. I noticed something troublesome. I could see after their baptism picture that time sped up. I could see it in those pictures hanging on a string. That their aging just sped up after their baptism. Of course when Abby turned 9 on Sunday I said, “What what? That happened fast, like extra fast!” It did, next is 10, 10! Double digits! Then after that they are in Young Womens, then LEAVING YOU! My goodness, I am going to die, just die.

So this stunning girl turned 9, and has such a growth spurt this year. In many areas of her life. Just look:

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Actually a few minutes ago I put together a spotlight on Abby for her activity days activity tonight. So I will share that.

Abby loves: dogs, dance, baking, crafting, creating, reading, friends, sweet things, and traveling. She has traveled to quite a few fun places. She is homeschooled and a smart smart thing. Her new hobby is doing nails. She is a fantastic friend and is very helpful. Most of all she has a strong testimony and knows it is important to share it. She likes to serve others by being a good friend. She is a good friend by being kind, thoughtful, and assuming the best of her friends. She supports her friends. Abby dances in eight dance classes during the week. She dances when we are standing in line at the grocery store, picking out books at the library, watching tv. All day every day! Her biggest pet peeve is BELLY BUTTONS! Don’t talk about them or show them, makes her want to barf. The biggest goal she has right now is to raise money to build a well in Africa.

For her birthday we did a fun science party that I can’t wait to show off. Instead of gifts at her party she raised 800 bucks for a well! I did tell her that we would go to the mall, her and I, so she could pick out a couple of things. Those plans kept on getting ruined so we went as a family. Which ended up being one of my least favorite things we have ever done together. But Abby did get to pick out some beautiful things.

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Abby had her breakfast in bed, we went to church, she played minecraft after church, and opened her presents.

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I think my favorite thing, even more than our fun parties to celebrate birthdays is this. That on the night of the birthday they stay up very late hanging out with me. Abby and I went geocaching at night and cuddled watching Gilmore Girls.

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Things I Loved When My Sister Was Here

March 18th, 2015 in About Me

One day each of us won’t have 2 year olds that get very stressed out in new environments. The screaming will stop and also the throwing themselves on the floor like a rag dolls will end. UNTIL THEN, we will not have the most relaxing visits.

I loved the free days full of fun. Bean Museum, $1 snack at Sodalicious, and impromptu talent shows on the lawn.

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My nephews are sweeties, once they warm up to me, I get loads of love. The girls were so excited they go to have their cousins in both of their primary classes.

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And our annual sibling night was a smashing success! We copied a game from one of our favorite TV shows. It included gobbling grapes, speed walking with a very full bladder, trivia questions, and smashing New Kids on the Block barbies. It is a very confusing game.

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I was invited to Fashion Place Mall invited me out to the Lego Monuments Tour. Oh you guys the Legos! The Lego replicas of the White House, Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, + 9 other historic places are amazing. It is free to go to, very worth taking the time to see, but ends at Fashion Place Mall on the 22nd! Fashion Place Mall was so sweet to also allow me to bring my sister & her boys. They even gave her a very well put together gift bag. They took such great care of us, big thanks to them.

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My girls were so excited to go, don’t they look adorable in these Statley Type tees?

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Annual End of Harvest Dinner

March 17th, 2015 in Parties

Our last Annual End of Harvest Dinner was 3 months late and this year’s was 5 months early. Why am I referring to it as the “Annual End of Harvest Dinner” still? I don’t know. All I know is two sisters might be on their way to different states and different phases of their lives. So when Sarah came to visit we smashed it in. Two years I was in charge, then Sarah one year, and this year it was Winston & Laura. It is really hard to win on the years you are in charge. But now Laura & Winston and I are two for two. WHO WILL WIN IN 2016?!?!

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So yes I won, ahem, I won this contest again. Two years in a row baby.

I did not document it well because of this thing:

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Who since I got back from New Orleans is GLUED to me. It is very slowly getting better, very slowly.

The assignment was to make THE BEST BURGER, FRIES, AND SHAKE.  All votes were based 100% on taste this year. 

I didn’t document it well. I of course documented my genius plan very well:

Perfect a smashburger at home. Go buy smashburger buns, make the smashburger sauce, watch many youtube videos from the owner of smashburger own how to smash the smashburger. Buy local pickles and ketchup and cheese that taste better. BANG.

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Fries. Now I do know two things, #1 I like oven fries better and #2 yellow baby yukons soaked taste buttery, much better than regular potatoes. Then I just found a dip to go with that. It was a buttermilk bacon dip and I also used hickory smoked pepper to season my potatoes.

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Lastly my friends. Answer me what is the best ice cream out there? If you said Half Baked you answered correctly. Can you make Half Baked better? Of course you can you fools.

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Done, done you guys, done. All of those things are amazing, all of those things will make you win.

 

During the competition I heard rumblings of Amish cheese, 92% of this or that kind of meat, that budgets should be used from here on out, special bacon, special mustard. My friends, I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. Who knew what these people were doing:

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All I know is I won. And I was presented with a gold ninja knife at the end. And I’ll see you in 2016 suckaaaaaaaaas!

2014 Contest here
2013 Contest here
2012 Contest here
2011 Contest here