Monday, December 31, 2007

Work Out Videos

Sorry to be a blog hog today. Here's the other topic I'd like to hear suggestions on though. My workout of choice is running or walking outside. I love the fresh air, and biggest bonus-it's free! However, this time of year in Michigan isn't exactly optimal for outdoor workouts. I've had to resort to my workout videos, and my collection is pretty pathetic. I don't like to buy just anything without hearing a personal recommendation. I've definitely found some duds out there! The one posted above is one of my personal faves. I like it because it's divided into three ten minute segments for abs, butt, and thighs, so total it's still only 30 min. It's definitely not much of a cardio workout, I don't really even break a sweat. But it's great for toning, and stretching, and always makes me feel better when I'm cooped up inside all day. It's pretty gentle so I especially liked it in the post-partum days! I wouldn't mind some better cardio workouts, but I like ones that are fun. I see infomercials for the dancey, hip hop ones that always look fun, but I always chicken out before ordering them! Does anyone use workout videos, and if so-do you have any you love?

Dry Skin!

It's that time of year again! I know we had some posts last year about dry skin in general, and we shared lotion recommendations. I have some specific problem areas to ask about though.... For me: my face has been really dry, and the lotion I use the rest of the year just isn't cutting it. I just can't keep it well enough moisturized! Any recommendations? I'd rather not spend a fortune, but I do think the face is an area worthy of splurging on if necessary. My 15 mos old is battling dry skin as well. Linz's suggestion of Baby Aveeno is GOLD. Her skin was silk after using it one time! She also has a really dry scalp though. I've tried a couple different shampoos with no results yet. Has anyone else had this issue? Know of anything great? Please share!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Alligator Chopper FYI

Back in September, Laura posted about the Alligator Chopper from Crate and Barrel. I was just looking at it online and the small version is currently 50% off, making it only $9.95. Don't know if anyone is interested, but Laura gave the product great reviews. There are tons of other awesome things on sale at Crate and Barrel right now too!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Search For My Mom-Mobile

It looks as though we will become a two car family in the next few months, so I'm starting to look at what kind of car I might want... I definitely want 4 doors (right now we have a two door Blazer, makes life fun with a baby!!) and I'd like something with good gas mileage, so I guess I won't be getting my Hummer this time around :)

What car/van/SUV do you drive? What are your likes and dislikes? What vehicles have you looked at that you like or dislike? Also, does anyone know of good websites (that you don't have to pay for) that give good reviews and safety ratings? Any ideas, suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday Weekly

What was your favorite gift you gave yesterday? What was your favorite gift you received?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New Years Resolutions

The new year is almost here! I love, love, love setting New Years resolutions, and I'm happy to say that I actually keep about 50% of them!! (I usually set a lot!!) I love that we are able to spend our lives bettering ourselves. What are some of the resolutions you girls are setting for 2008?

Friday, December 21, 2007

I know just how you feel, Tiffany!

Can't you just feel how much my daughter loves Christmas? :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Child Torture?

So...we had Santa Claus come to our ward Christmas party. I thought this would be a great way for our family to get a cute Christmas picture. Here's the winner:We were CRACKING up. I guess Megan's not so into Santa yet. Santa felt really bad. As we were leaving he said, "In a few years you'll like me more." I just laughed. Maybe that makes me a bad mom...but I thought that this was HILARIOUS. :) Just wanted to share...

Chicken Pot Pie and Easy Pie Crust

I know this is a random post, but my friend just requested this recipe, and I thought some of you might like it too.

1 can mixed vegetables, drained
1/3 c. butter or stick margarine
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 3/4 c. chicken broth (I always use reconstituted chicken boullion)
2/3 c. milk (reconstituted dry milk)
2 1/2 to 3 cups cut-up cooked chicken or turkey
Pastry for two-crust pie (store-bought deep dish crusts make this really easy!)

1. Heat oven to 425.

2. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbley;remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute to thicken. Stir in chicken and vegetables; remove from heat.

3. Pour chicken into pie crust. Trim off top edge of slightly thawed second crust, then ease crust out of pan and place on top of pie. Seal with fork all the way around pie. Vent in a few places with sharp knife.

4. Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

If you're not into store-bought crust, here's a great EASY pie crust recipe that makes 4 crusts (or 2 double crust pies):

5 c. flour
2 c. shortening (butter flavor is yummy, but regular is good too)
1 egg
1 T. vinegar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. soda

Put egg in measuring cup. Add vinegar and water to make 3/4 cup. Beat. Put in freezer.
Mix dry ingredients. Add cold egg mixture with pastry cutter. Chill dough for at least half an hour.

Wednesday Weekly

What has been the best part of your holiday season so far?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Bitter...

But not at anyone. I am about 10 weeks away from my 2nd child being born and all the sudden I have this strange bitter taste in my mouth after I eat anything. I just looked it up on the internet and found that it is usually something women experience in the begining of their pregnancy and that nothing can really help it...this does make me bitter, especially since it is the holidays and yummy food surrounds me (I guess it could be seen as a good thing?) Anyhow, I am wondering if anyone has ever had this happen and did something particular work for you? I am feeling desperate.

Camille's Oreo Truffles-Not quite a cookie but still cookie-exchange-worthy

I got this recipe from my friend Camille, but I also found it at So easy and soooo yummy!
1 package oreo cookies, divided
1 8 oz. package cream cheese softened
2 packages Baker's chocolate, melted (I think Camille just uses choc chips)

Crush cookies. Mix in cream cheese. Roll into balls and dip in chocolate. Cool on wax paper. Enjoy!

Type I diabetes

My friend has a son who is 13 months and just diagnosed with Type I diabetes. She doesn't have a history of the disease in her or her husband's family and so this took them by complete surprise. After a horrific weekend in the hospital, things have calmed down and she feels a need to let other mommy's out there know her story so others can recognize the symptoms sooner. I have joined her crusade and wanted to share her story with everyone.

Cookie Exchange

Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprints

I am addicted to Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. I made these cookies of hers to give away to people this year for Christmas, but we ended up eating all of them. They're just a souped up version of shortbread cookies. You can find the recipe here.

Table Manners....

and (almost) 15 mos. olds don't mix! My little one has the delightful habit of throwing her sippy cup and sometimes her food, several times in a meal. The cup throwing isn't as messy, just annoying. But the food can be quite the disaester. This becomes especially tricky when we're at other people's houses. I just feel bad! When she was younger, I just figured she'd grow out of it. But now I feel like we need to reverse the habit before it's too late. "No, no" doesn't do a thing. I've heard of taking their food away, but then she doesn't eat. And my stubborn little girl is not the type to give in! Any other ideas???

Monday, December 17, 2007

a No-risk, No-calorie, No (well, almost no)-effort Christmas Cookie Exchange!

I have never been to a cookie exchange. Physically speaking, that's probably a good thing! I have always been envious of them though. Some year, I will initiate one or be lucky enough to go to one. Not this year though. Between two weeks in Arkansas, my husband leaving on the 30th for Utah, needing to pack him and the car BEFORE we leave town for said trips, the house up for sale, not feeling so great this week, the looming "single-motherhood", this is not the year! :) I was salivating at Laura's blog today and wishing that I had the energy and time to make some of her yummy treats! So... I propose an online cookie/treat exchange! We all submitted recipes earlier this year when we first started and lots of good cookies and treats were in that bundle, but it's been almost a year! So, share what you would bring to a cookie exchange and we all get to take good recipes "home" as well as drool at all that goodness without gaining a pound!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Leaky Diaper Bonanza

I have this ridiculously annoying problem. My 13-month-old son's diaper leaks almost every night. This has been going on for months now, and I don't know how to fix it! I've tried different brands, different sizes, and now I've resorted to just changing it preventively in the middle of the night before it gets the chance to leak. My son hates this and cries, but it's better than having him cry anyway when it leaks and I have to change the whole bedding. Has anyone else had this problem? Do you have any magical diapers or tips on how to change bedding quickly? Does anyone know of a water-proof mattress or sheet cover or anything like that? Or, even better, are you aware of a way to stop a child from filling his diaper to the brim during the night? :) I mean, I'm glad he's well hydrated and all, but you know. It would be nice to have one diaper do the job.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hey Twilight Fans!

I know there are a lot of Twilight Book Series readers on this blog. I have yet to jump on the bandwagon but plan to! Anyway, my SIL designed a beautiful bracelet for the series. Check out this current listing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another Great Book Blog

I love juvenile lit! I'm a sucker for Shannon Hale and Sharon Creech books. I found this while surfing this morning. It seems to be current-other books blogs sometimes peter out. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kleenex with lotion

A Grandma at the playground recommended Kleenex with lotion to me for when our little ones have a cold. I second the recommendation! I hate when I have to wipe my girl's already chapped under-nose area.

(I would also like to recommend Aveeno Baby for mild eczema. My child feels like a baby again!)

Wednesday Weekly

Name one thing on your Christmas wish list.

MY 12 Books of Christmas


Biscuit's Christmas Eve
The Night Before Christmas
The Last Straw
The Legend of the Poinsettia
The Polar Express
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Christmas in the Manger
The Christmas Witch
Toot & Puddle I'll Be Home for Christmas
Snowmen at Night
Jolly Christmas Postman
The Snowman

Tomorrow is our first night! We're not really going in any special order except that two of these I don't have-I'm using my Mom's! And I have a small one to open on the plane next week! :) My list is all linked so you can see what they are but I didn't have the energy to do it twice so please feel free to visit my blog if you'd like the links to these books. I'll report after Christmas on any treasures or duds! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm Done!

with my Christmas shopping! A full two weeks in advance! I'm so stinkin' proud of myself! I think I did pretty good and hitting sales and waiting to get what I REALLY wanted to get for people so I hope they're all pleased. On my husband's side, there are only seven of us so we give to everyone. On my side, we give to a sibling and their family (or my youngest two siblings who are the eternal "couple" until they grow up and get married, poor kids!). A few things that helped me this year:
-I'm making a few of the presents, so I'm not really done but supply-wise, I'm done
-online shopping is the greatest! i love how it magically appears on your doorstep later on
-our Target is IN our mall! it is truly the greatest because it is the epitome of one-stop-shopping I LOVE google and I love froogle which lists products so you can find the best deals and where they're at
-at work my friends and I did a "not-so-secret-Santa" so you only had to get something for one person and my coworkers are donating to a family in need rather than presents for all of us.

I talked to my Mom this morning and she hasn't even started yet, so for those of you like her, good luck!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fasting Prevents Heart Disease?

Thought this was an interesting article on the benefits of fasting by Mormons.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Recipe Help Needed!!

I have to make cheese balls for the mutual activity next Wednesday. Does anyone have a tried and true, yummy cheese ball recipe?? Thank you, thank you!

Good Movies

Okay, so all of this ClearPlay talk has got me thinking about movies. My husband and I NEVER see movies anymore, because well, first of all, they're so expensive. But, secondly, even with ratings we never really know the message of a movie/the amount of language/sexual content/etc. It seems like we can never see romantic comedies anymore, which makes me so sad, because I love that genre. But anyway....what are some of everyone's favorite movies that they would recommend to everyone to see? I'm curious to see what has been liked. Also, if there's any movie that you would highly not recommend, go ahead and put that one too to give us all a head's up!


I don't know if any of you are familiar with this product, but last night at Mutual, a leader was talking about ClearPlay. Apparently, its a special DVD player that you purchase. Then you rent or buy movies and download a filter from the internet for that particular movie. Then when you watch the movie, the downloaded filter blocks language, sex, violence, etc. To my understanding, you can block as much or as little as you'd like. Seems like a pretty cool product!!

The more I thought about it though, I started to wonder a few things. First of all... is it just as bad to watch the movie even if swearing is muted, since you might still be seeing the persons mouth moving? And how much do you have to filter in order to make a movie PG or PG-13 instead of R? Is it a bad idea to support the making of obscene movies, or movies with a lot of profanity by buying or renting them, even if we are filtering them?

Mainly, I'm just wondering what your take is on a product like this. If you want to check it out for more info, the website is I'd love to hear your thoughts on this product!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday Weekly

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Comforting Those Who Stand in Need of Comfort

In my ward, there is an unusual amount of pregnant women right now. I keep joking that we're moving because we can't take the pressure! Seriously, for a small family ward in MN, there are a lot. Well, unfortunately with some pregnancies there are complications. We just had two miscarriages in the last week, unfortunately. I don't want to be insensitive to our sweet S&S sisters who are also pregnant right now so I hope this isn't an awful topic. I have been feeling so much love and emotion for these sweet women in my ward who I know are hurting. I always freeze in this situation though. The perfect example is the one sister in my play group who said, "I don't want to talk about it." So how do you help? How do you serve? How do you show support beyond prayers? Or is keeping them in your prayers just enough?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree!!!!!

Who has their Christmas Trees up? Lets see pictures!!!!!

Christmas Eve/Day Meal

What are your Christmas meal traditions? This year we'll be doing Christmas without any extended family, so I've been thinking lots about traditions we'd like to start in our little family. Any yummy dishes that you can't imagine Christmas Eve or Christmas Day without?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Going Green?

First of all I have to share an experience I had at Walmart today. I recently purchased some reusable bags at Costco ( 6 big bad for $2, super cheap) and was really excited to use them now every time I go shopping. So I remembered to bring them to my Walmart trip and was waiting in line with a cart full of groceries. When it is my turn I hand the bags over to the cashier so that he can load my groceries in them. He gave me a weird look and said, "What are these?" and when I explained they were for the groceries he gave me and even weirder face. As I was helping him with my groceries I found myself being watched by every person in my line and the lines next to me. It was crazy. I began to wonder why I was getting so much attention for using my bags. I figured I must be an odd ball in San Antonio, Tx, and was wondering how different cities around the country support or show a lack of support for being green.

holiday treats

I'm looking for some new recipes for holiday treats. What are your favorite treats to make/eat?

Those small gifts add up!

How do you handle the friend/ward/neighbor gifts? In my experience, those are the ones that I forget to budget for and the ones that add up so quickly! I want to give to everyone but can't and so I usually make a short list of the work/church/neighborhood/VT friends that I want to remember. I have found the dollar spot at Target to be very helpful but I don't always find what I'm looking for. I'm not a candy maker so I am not able to whip up some fudge or anything fancy like that either! Have any of you found creative, thrifty ways to remember your friends at the holidays without feeling like you've short-changed them?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

24 Days of Christmas Books

I LOVE this idea from Tales! We don't have many Christmas books at our house. I know we discussed some ideas for books earlier in November here on S&S. There are tons on here and the previous post. I ordered some from the library and I'm going to see if I can't at least do a 12 days of Christmas (and hope my Mom has enough in Little Rock for those last days when we'll be there!) Enjoy!

Calling help

I was just called as the Primary Chorister. Does anyone have experience with this calling and have advice/tips/hints to share? I'm especially concerned with how to go about teaching songs to the older kids. For the younger kids I can think of a lot of fun games and things... things that they older kids might roll their eyes at. Any help would be greatly appreciated! :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I am preparing for FHE next week and I want my husband and I to learn more about television and it's effects on children and family. I'm happy to report that he and I and our son have been having most of our meals at the table together instead of in front of the TV! Hooray!! I'm not taking a scientific approach for FHE, at this time I want to find things mainly from church articles and the Ensign. I have heard some say "television is great" and vise-versa "television is evil". Personally, I feel that television is a good thing. I believe it was invented for a good purpose but Satan finds his way into everything and evil influences are everywhere. We just need to avoid the inappropriate things on TV. I found a Great article from the October 1981 Ensign, in the "I have a question" section.

I feel much like the author does. Television is neutral. We are the ones that decide if we are going to bring something worthy or unworthy of viewing into our homes. Television is just the messenger. I totally agree with his advice to plan which shows are important to watch and not just watch "whatever is on" because we're "bored". I am not one to stand on a pedestal and tell everyone how, when or what they should watch on TV, I have days that I like to be lazy, but I want to be a good example early on to my kids and show them that there's more entertaining things to do than watch TV all the time. I love watching educational shows on TLC, Discovery Channel or HGTV (woo-hoo for DIY projects!), but I'm really glad that the author mentioned that it's okay to watch TV just to be entertained. There are good shows out there that are just plain fun to watch. I also don't mind letting my son watch cartoons for a few minutes every now and again. We have some Disney DVD's with Mickey cartoons on them that we love watching as a family.

What are your thoughts about television?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Weekly

What is your favorite secular Christmas song? What is your favorite sacred Christmas carol?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cleaning Tile and Grout

Earlier this year my husband ripped out our carpeted kitchen floor (an old lady owned the house before us!) and laid a beautiful tile floor, with very, very light grout. Since then the grout has become quite dingy and in preparation for having all of Scott's family over for Christmas Eve, I decided it was time to scrub my floor with the main purpose of whitening my grout again. (I then plan to seal the grout so as not to go through all this again!) I've read several websites and asked my friends and neighbors for advice on what product to use. I'm happy to announce that I've found one that works!!! I'm so, so excited!! (Well, as excited as I can get about cleaning!)

I thought I'd share the product with all of you because this stuff seriously works! My grout is so light that its almost white and after months and months of walking on it, mopping it and the occasional spill, its quite dirty, but this stuff makes it almost white again! Here goes...

1/2 cup of baking soda
1/3 cup of ammonia
1/4 cup of white vinegar
7 cups of water
Combine all the ingredients in a labeled spray bottle and shake well to mix. (Do not use this in conjunction with chlorine bleach or where chlorine bleach has been used.)

I then spray the mixture on my tile and grout, scrub with a hard bristled grout and tile brush, and wipe up the dirt that is dislodged from my grout with a damp sponge. Hope this is helpful for someone!!

Recipe courtesy of, though I've seen the same recipe on various other sites also!

Unrealistic expectations

We just got back from spending a long weekend with our families for the holiday. Sigh... For the most part, I consider ourselves pretty lucky when it comes to family not telling us how we should raise our child. We put up with the occasional comment, like everyone, but that's to be expected. I'll probably do it to my own children some day, without meaning to. The one thing that does really get to me though, is I have a sister and brother in law that don't have children yet. My sister in law is wonderful and loves our daughter to pieces. However, her husband doesn't have very realistic expectations when it comes to small children. He makes comments about her whining, crying, waking up in the middle of the night (thus waking him up), etc. At one point he told her "NO!" in a super harsh voice, over something pretty unnecessary, which I didn't really appreciate. I don't want to be over-sensitive, and part of me feels like I should "turn the other cheek," especially because it's family. However the defensive and emotional part of me wants to lash out and tell him what I really think! It's annoying when people think your child is undisciplined or "naughty" when in fact they are just exhibiting normal behavior for a 14 mos. old. Am I horrible for hoping that if and when he has a child they throw tantrums and wake up at night 10 times more than mine???!!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Making it "the most wonderful time of the year..."

What attempts are you making to reduce added stress this Christmas season?

What strategies do you use to save money at Christmastime?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Books ... not always a chew toy

My son likes to chew on everything. We have a lot of great board books, and also regular books, that I would love to sit down and read with him or show him the pictures. When I try to read/look at the books with him he tries to chew on them! Has anyone else dealt with this? How do I teach him that it's not okay to chew on books. Do I keep taking them away or stop reading to him if he tries to "eat" the book? I'm wondering how I let him know that it's not okay to chew on some books but others (like plastic ones) it's okay to chew on.

Weddings on a Budget

My little sister is getting married!! (For those from MSU... she is marrying Ed Wicklander, better known as Elder Wicklander, Scott's mission companion from when he was serving on campus!)

What tips do you girls have for planning a wedding on a budget? I'm making the cake, and my cousin's fiance will most likely be doing the photos. Other than that we are trying to do this wedding on a tight budget! Any ideas?

Plays Nice With Others

My little one doesn't live near cousins. So, we're here in Arkansas with all her cousins and it's been a bit traumatic! We stay at Grandma's and so the cousins who are around here are a bit territorial. My child is very good natured but when she gets around her cousins, she gets aggressive. She pinches and shoves and screams and becomes an all around crazy woman!! It stresses me out and her poor cousins have battle wounds! What do you do when being around family makes your little one go nuts! She rarely hits in nursery or preschool or daycare, just here!!! Help!!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Black Friday Re-visited

So, I know the ads aren't officially out, but have any of you been looking at yet? What kinds of things are you shopping for on Friday, for those of you going out? Anyone crazy enough to do the stand in line hours before the stores open thing? I've seen that sheets and pillows and stuff are 50% off a few places, so I'm interested in that, otherwise I'm pretty much going for the experience!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wednesday Weekly--Thanksgiving edition

Are you cooking the turkey this year?

Monday, November 19, 2007

New to the Group

Hello Sugar & Spice girls! My name is Claire and I’ve been lurking and commenting on this blog for several weeks now and I’m so excited that Lindsay invited me to join. I think this blog is such a great idea! I lived down the hall from Nate and Lindsay during my freshman year of college… Nate use to take my trash out for me! He’s such a sweet guy!! Linz got a good one!

I live in the Phoenix area with my husband Scott and darling little girl, Cecelia Shannon. Scott is a police officer and I’m a mom. He loves his job and I absolutely love mine! I started college at MSU studying Interior Design, but have since put school on hold to have a family. I hope to eventually finish my degree; though I’m not sure I will finish with Interior Design… we’ll see what happens! For now, I’m perfectly content to be at home with Cecelia.

I met Scott 4 years ago, during my freshman year. He was serving his mission in Lansing and was one of the elders assigned to my student ward. It wasn’t until I moved to Utah and he got home from his mission that we got in touch and decided that we liked each other. He came up to Utah to visit me after about a month and a half of talking on the phone. By the time his 5 day visit ended he had proposed and 2 weeks later I moved down to Arizona to be with him. We got married in August of 2005. I actually had a huge crush on him while he was on his mission, but it wasn’t until he got home that he had any interest in me! But that’s how it should be, so it worked out perfectly! Six months after we got married we bought a house that we’ve had a lot of fun painting and remodeling. 10 months after our wedding we found out I was pregnant. Cecelia joined our family in March 25, 2007, 14 days after her due date!!

I love to spend time with my family, scrapbook, sew, play piano, read, cook, sing, shop, and travel. My big project for the moment is starting an organization for the wives of police officers in our city. Among other things, we hope to offer gun safety courses for the wives and children of police officers and raise money to help the families of local officers who are wounded or killed in the line of duty.

Christmas Books

I just thought I'd let you all know that I was at Target this morning and they had a HUGE selection of Christmas books in the dollar section at the front of the store. There were several lift-the-flap books and books that made noise, so I picked up a few for my daughter. I haven't had a chance to look through them yet so I don't know how good they are, but they sure kept her quiet while I was shopping - not an easy thing to do!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thankful for Motherhood

I loved this article, and thought I'd share.

International Travel

Have any of you traveled abroad with little ones before? My husband and I have been offered a chance to spend a week in Jerusalem in March, but we have to decide this week if we want to go. I have never been there before, and I doubt we will ever have the chance to go again (especially for free.) However, I don't want to go if it will be torture traveling with an 18-month old. Any thoughts?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cabin Fever

Hey girls...for some of us, the cold weather has arrived, and it doesn't look like it will be going away for a while.

I was wondering if anyone has some really great ideas about things to do with your kids once that nasty case of cabin fever sets in.

Please share!

Frog Eye Salad

For those of you who have never heard of frog eye salad, it's delish! You'll love it!

Cook Acini Di Pepe macaroni: Bring 6 cups water to a rapid boil in 3 quart saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly add 1 cup Acini Di Pepe. Return to rapid boil, stirring to separate. Boil only 2 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 6 to 8 minutes. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water to chill.

3/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. pineapple juice (from canned pineapple shown below)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. lemon juice

In small saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt; stir in pineapple juice and egg. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until thickened (or cook in microwave). Add lemon juice, set aside and cool.

Combine cooked, cooled mixture with cooled Acini Di Pepe. Cover, place in refrigerator until chilled. Add the following:

2 cans (11 oz. each) mandarin oranges, drained
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 carton (8 oz.) dairy whipped topping
1 c. miniature marshmallows

Stir lightly. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Serves 8-10.

Sweet Potato Crunch

3 c. sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked and sliced/chunked/mashed
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. plus 3 Tbs. butter, melted and divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 T. vanilla extract
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, 1/2 butter, eggs, vanilla and milk; mix well. Turn into a greased baking dish. Combine remaining butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, flour and pecans together. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over sweet potatoes. Bake at 350* for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

It's a fun new twist on the old standby!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Share Your Recipes!

Okay, ladies. Commenting on the Wednesday Weekly got my mouth watering. Please share your favorite recipes/turkey tips/centerpiece tips! (Personally, I want to know what frog eye salad is.) Those of us hosting will thank you in advance for your ideas! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Black Friday

Is that what it's called? I'm thinking of the day after Thanksgiving: the busiest shopping day of the year. Just curious, how many of you go shopping on this day? How many of you go at the break of dawn? I don't know if I have ever gone shopping on that day but I'm thinking about it!

Wednesday Weekly

What is your favorite (edible) part of the Thanksgiving feast?

8 Days to go!

Until we all stuff ourselves!! What are your plans for Thanksgiving? What are your family traditions?

When I was little my grandma told us the "Tale of Candy Corn" every year. We all got three candy corn and those represented the food that the pilgrims had the first year...or something like that (can you tell how well I paid attention?)

My Dad likes us all to say something we're thankful for and gives a nice testimony before dinner.

I set the tables. It's my job to make them pretty with all the best china and silver and crystal and beautiful centerpieces.

My parents always have families from the ward over. Usually the families that can't go anywhere but don't have family nearby. For years, we also had the missionaries in our ward (up to eight of them!)

When we lived in Utah, we'd put up a quilt to tie after dinner with my grandma and aunts.

Now, I always go a day early. My other job is pies. Mom makes the crusts and I make all the insides. Except for the chocolate cream pie. That one's too complicated! :)

My family is so deeply steeped in food tradition that the year my Mom changed the sweet potatoes there was mutiny...until we tasted the new recipe! Yum!!! We HAVE to have potato rolls, pomegranate salad, ribbon jello as well as the regulars: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes. We could care less about green beans! :)

That's what makes my Thanksgiving. What makes yours??

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Date Night

What are some dates you've done at home that cost little or no money?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Vaccines part II

Just in case anyone is interested. In my post about vaccines, someone mentioned that they thought the church was supportive of them... which is true. One of the church's major humanitarian projects is providing the measles vaccination (just as an example). True we do not have the same number of cases in the US as Africa but it still exists here and I can't imagine the church doing one thing for African children that they wouldn't want for American children. This is a statement by the First Presidency in 1978 about vaccines.

“We urge members of the Church … to protect their own children through immunization. Then they may wish to join other public-spirited citizens in efforts to eradicate ignorance and apathy that have caused the disturbingly low levels of childhood immunization.”

“Reports that increasing numbers of children are not being immunized against preventable childhood diseases deeply concern us. In the United States alone approximately 20 million children, 40 percent of those 14 years old or younger, have not been adequately immunized against polio, measles, German measles (rubella), diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps and tetanus.

“Every parent who has agonized when these diseases have maimed or brought premature death to their children would join us, we are certain, in a plea to mobilize against these deadly enemies.

“Immunization is such a simple, yet vital, matter and such a small price to pay for protection against these destroying diseases. …

“Failure to act could subject untold thousands to preventable lifelong physical or mental impairment, including paralysis, blindness, deafness, heart damage, and mental retardation.

“Immunization campaigns in the United States and other nations, if successful, will end much needless suffering and erase the potential threat of epidemics. Such efforts are deserving of our full support.”

Friday, November 9, 2007

Car Seat Question

It's hard to believe that this little baby confused by her new surroundings fresh out of the hospital has turned into this giant dancer with statues. But...its true. Megan is a giant. And the time has come for us to buy her a new car seat. I have no idea what to get her. What are your opinions of the convertible car seats that you got for your children? What features do you like/dislike? Thanks for the help. :)


I'm sorry if there already was a post about this, I looked through and couldn't find one.

What are everyone's thoughts on vaccinations? I know there are a ton of theories out there about whether or not to vaccinate, how many at once, and the side effects, etc. that sometimes it's staggering. For instance I have a nephew who was labelled as "1 in 500 autistic children" because he is very very low on the spectrum of Autism... my sister doesn't blame the vaccines for causing it, but does think that they triggered it. So on the one hand we have all the dr. and researchers saying there is no link, and on the other hand mothers who are certain their child's developmental problems are linked to vaccines.

I like what Dr. Sears recommends at He suggests not giving more than two vaccines at once to avoid overloading the child's system. Unfortunately it costs more money, but to me it's worth the peace of mind :)

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts! Did anyone else hesitate to vaccinate their child?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ensign Hoarding

Do you keep all of your old Ensigns? We used to, but I used a lot of them last year to make quiet books for my daughter and niece and nephews. However, we still have a lot and I'm trying to convince myself I don't need them. Everything is online now, but do you think there's a benefit to keeping them? (And moving them from Minnesota to Utah? :)

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I have made these three or four times and each time I love them and so does Phil. As we were enjoying them tonight I thought, I should share them with the Sugar and Spice ladies. So here is my version of the recipe. If you want the PF Chang version go here. My version is just a bit less complicated - you could look at them both and come up with your own variation.

2-3 servings - 25 minute prep/cooking time

2 T Olive Oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - thawed (tonight I used the pre-cooked grilled chicken strips and they worked great and were fast!)
1/2 C chopped Almonds
2/3 C Mushrooms
3 T chopped Onion (I used yellow)
2 t minced Garlic (I used the bottled kind)
5-6 leaves of Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Carrot
1/2 Cucumber
Stir Fry Sauce*
Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing

Mince mushrooms and onions about the size of peas.
Saute chicken breasts in Olive Oil for 4-5 minutes per side (or until done).
Remove chicken from pan and when cool chop it the same size as mushrooms.
Add mushrooms, garlic, onions, and almonds to the pan and saute.
Add the chicken back in.
Add the stir fry sauce and saute for a couple of minutes.

Wash the lettuce.
Shred the carrot and cucumber.

To serve, place a tablespoon of the chicken mixture on a piece of lettuce then top with the shredded carrot and cucumber. Dribble some Kraft Asian dressing on it. Wrap and eat (make sure you have napkins handy).

*Stir Fry Sauce:
In a small bowl mix 2 T Soy Sauce with 2 T brown Sugar and 1/2 t rice vinegar.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wednesday Weekly

What is your greatest phobia?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Videos for Toddlers

Any suggestions for videos that are somewhat educational or stimulating for ages 1+? I don't really make a habit out of sticking my little one in front of the television. However, I like to have some videos on hand for those occasions when I am trying to make dinner or something, and she doesn't want to be anywhere but hanging on my legs! We have several Baby Einstein videos that we have loved, but I think we're (all) over them! We don't have cable television, so Nickelodeon and those options are out too. I would love to hear any suggestions of videos, sing alongs, whatever, that you and your kids have loved!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Nursing Strike

My son is going through what is apparently called a "Nursing Strike." Have any of you dealt with this before?

It has been going on for 4 days now and I am not sure what to do. He nurses well in the morning but by the 11 am-ish feeding he lets me know he does NOT want to nurse. He fusses, cries, arches his back, you name it. I have been pumping to try to keep my supply up.

I can't figure out what is wrong. He has been congested, but is mostly over it now. I get so frustrated trying to get him to nurse, and then decide it isn't worth it so I offer him a sippy cup of pumped milk. My patience is wearing thin. I planned on nursing until he turned 6 months. He is now 7 months. I am surprised that even going through this experience I am not quite ready to give up nursing him (it is so stinking convenient... very inexpensive... let alone the bonding that happens!). I wonder how long this will go on as well as how much longer I can handle it!

Any tips, suggestions, or even support would help!

Developing a Relationship with your Pediatrician

I read this post about developing a relationship with your pedi on tutus and turtles. They review kids' stuff and often have great discounts. It's fun to check out. I liked this post because I think it's totally true! I love our pediatrician and I'm totally bummed that we're probably moving soon and I'll have to start from scratch with a new one! One thing they talk about is making sure you're getting your advice from your doctor and not just from researching the internet! I'm so guilty of this one but I also totally agree. Anyway, enjoy!

Toy Purse idea

This post is kind of for Linz. I wasn't sure if anyone would go back and read the post Toys for Tots. I just wanted to share an idea that I am doing for Christmas, for my (will be) 15 mos. old. I can't take credit for the idea, I got it from a friend in my old ward. Anyway, since my little one is OBSESSED with my purse, and everything in it-keys, wallet, pens, etc. I am putting together a purse for her. The idea I got from my friend is you take a wallet or billfold that has a lot of slots for credit cards, and you make your own cards. She had pictures of family members, Christ, animals, etc. You just make the pictures the size of a credit card, and then laminate them. Little tots will happily pull out the cards and examine them all day long! Anyway, it becomes a good alternative for getting into my OWN purse, (and real credit cards) as well as a good quiet activity for Church, etc.

Does anyone know of a kind of toy keys that are more realistic then the plastic colorful baby ones they make?

Milk and Coughing

Skyler has had a bad cough for almost a week now, in fact we think it may be Croup. When I was talking to my mom last night, she mentioned that when we were little, the Dr said not to give us milk when we had a bad cough/cold because it increased phlegm production. My Pedi has never said anything like this, and I don't remember learning it in nursing school. But on the other hand, she doesn't seem to be getting any better either. I'm hesitant to try it, partly because I feel like most recommendations have improved and changed withtime, and partly because I don't really give her juice yet, and I would have to start that. I was just wondering if anyone knew anything about this old wives' tale!

Exercise in Pregnancy?

Right now my ward has an extremely high pregnancy rate, rivalling many BYU wards. With all the cute pregnant women around, I have been reminded how cute I wasn't and how much weight I gained. Lets just say I am one of those women who gains everywhere. So this has gotten me thinking that when I become pregnant with my third child I want to have a new approach to exercise and eating. Through my first two pregnancies I followed the no exercise and eat what you don't think you will throw up routine. Needless to say, I don't think I ended each pregnancy in the best shape. So what do you cute pregnant ladies do for exercise and how do you eat so well when nausea is such a huge factor?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

"You just wait..."

Hmmm. I get kind of annoyed by something and I just wanted to vent a bit. When I say kind of annoyed, I do mean that. It's not a big deal to me, but when it happens it makes me feel not so great for a few seconds.

Anyway, I have one child. I feel like there are some people with more than one child who make comments that basically give the overall message of "You have no idea how easy you have it with just one. You're in for it when you have more."

Okay, whatever, but seriously, 99% of the time that people make these little comments to me, I'm not even at all exasperated by what my child is doing. It feels like the comments are unwarranted. If I was huffing and puffing, rolling my eyes, sighing, scowling, then yes, put me in my place if you must. But I'm generally not overwhelmed by my child. If she's acting tired after 3 hours of church, I don't blame her!

Anyway, I forget about these comments once they've passed, but they feel like cut-downs more than anything else. For a brief moment I feel a small pang inside as the "commenter" smiles and laughs. I mean, what's the intent? Are they the exasperated ones? I surely know that having more than one kid is way more challenging than having one, but I will tell you what, I will not be one of those people who makes those types of comments to others when the time comes. We're all learning and growing! Thank you to my friends and family who support me in my parenting endeavors! I'd much rather enjoy the journey then bring others down in the process.

The Monkey and the Fairy

This year my daughter chose to be a fairy, a costume we found in the dress up section at Target. My son almost 2 so didn't care much what he dressed up as, so since he climbs on everything like a monkey, my husband and I thought it would only make sense for him to dress up as a monkey. Luckily he loved his costume and wanted to lay with his padded belly on the ground, making for one very dirty costume by the end of the night. Halloween night we went to our wards Trunk or Treat party and went to a couple of houses in our neighborhood. My daughter loved Halloween so much that she has become stuck in a sort of Halloween time warp, similiar to the movie Ground Hog's Day. She has decided that she needs to watch all the Halloween cartoons on our Tivo over and over again, and only read the Halloween books in our household. She even has recruited her brother to carry around his pumpkin with her as she dresses up and comes up to me asking for candy. Hopefully this won't last too long, so we can move on to celebrating Thanksgiving.

Belated Halloween

Here are our little cheerleaders (and me) at our ward Halloween party, and Haley in her second clown costume that she loved dressing up in at home, but never wore out! Sorry I'm so slow with the picture download! :)

Daylight Savings

I thought "Fall Back" meant you got to gain an hour!!! It's 5am here and my little one is up an hour early. No one told her she could sleep in extra!!! Any suggestions on how to retrain your toddler to the new time change? I don't remember what we did last year!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gifts for tots

Most of my child's favorite toys are ideas that I got from others. Her friend had a cute little Elmo push 'n ride toy. I got her a Winnie the Pooh one and it's wonderful: tons of things to press and pull, a lift-up seat you can fill with things, plus you can ride on it or push it. I highly recommend it for a 1 year old. I bought mine at Costco for $21.99. Another example is this little Dora futon that she plays on everyday. I also recommend this Fisher Price toy where you stack on four star rings. It makes a pretty noise and flashes lights every time you get a ring on and, at the end, you put a star on top and it plays one of the toy's classical tunes. It's about $12.99 at Toys R Us. When she was 9 months old, she would just pull the rings off and press the button that played the music, but now that she's older, she puts the rings on herself. My mother-in-law introduced me to this toy as well as the Fisher Price ball popper! It's so fun. She loved to watch it at 6 months and then grew to love putting the balls back in and pushing the red button that plays the music and gets the ball rolling. Basically kids at every age love playing with it. I've even seen 5 year olds play with it.

Okay, anyway, I am looking for some ideas for my 14 month old (will be almost 16 months at Christmas) for toys for Christmas. If you've had a child at this stage, I would love suggestions on what toys your kids have loved. I know personality plays a part, but I'd just like your general suggestions from a developmental standpoint. Think 18 months old.

Oh...and if you have great suggestions for any other age group (6-12 months, 2 years, 3 years, etc.), maybe others would find that helpful as well!

My pink skeleton

Here's my little skeleton. They are glow-in-the dark pajamas from Gymboree and surprisingly they had adult ones as well so my husband got black ones.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Crush the Turtle

Here's the front and back view of Bauer's costume. I put so much thought into him being Crush and he only wore the costume twice. He really didn't like being in it and would slowly take off one piece of his costume at a time until he was in his Wal-mart clearance sweatpants and t-shirt. No mom wants their child to wear that as a costume! So, after forcing him to wear the turtle costume twice we decided to just let him wear his Superman pj's for a Halloween party we went to and trick-or-treating. Now that I know how happy that made him maybe I'll just get pajama's every year!

You can't really tell but I slicked his hair back and plastered one little curl in the middle of his forehead. It was so cute!

The Lion Sleeps Tonight...

We spent most of Halloween like this. Yep. He slept through trick-or-treating, visiting family, the movies we watched... Luckily I took some pictures the day we got the costume from Old Navy!


My mom made this costume, skirt, tie, robe... the whole thing!

Skyler was a ladybug for Halloween, so my husband and I followed along with the garden/insect theme and I was a bumblebee and he was the flower. He was a pretty good sport about it overall, although the headpiece didn't stay on for much longer than the picture! Skyler kept tearing her costume off too, so I was the lone one in costume most the night!

p.s. Instead of going back and responding to all the individual posts, I'll just say that everyone's pictures are great. The kids all look so cute!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

This is Luke. We dressed him up as Luke Skywalker! We even had a little lightsaber. He's sitting on his Daddys lap. Daddy was going to be MacGyver but it was too hot to wear the "costume" we picked out...jeans and a shirt with a flannel shirt over it.

Bradyn is a Pirate, even though we lost his pirate shirt (oops), so some people thought that he was a ninja. My Parker was just the cutest chicken ever and Logan the most adorable little frog. We used all hand me down costumes this year. So, Bradyn has been all of these at one time or another.

Little Lamb

This was Margaret's first Halloween. I made her costume, so she looks a little more like a bunny than a lamb :) To clear up the confusion, Michael dressed up as a shepherd.

The Garden of...

This is Eden and her stroller ("The Garden of...")

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sugar & Spice Halloween Parade!

We would love to see all your sweet kids' costumes. Hope you all had a fun Halloween! Miss M, the fairy princess!

Wednesday Weekly

What is your favorite thing about Halloween?

Bumbo revisited

If you check out the comments on the first bumbo post, you'll see that the real issue is that parents need to use the Bumbo in a safe and responsible way. I don't think you necessarily need to get rid of yours!

Standards Night Ideas

Okay ladies, I need your help. I've been put in charge of our branch Standards Night for youth and parents (with very short notice). I have some ideas but I need more. The "theme" is taken from an article in this month's Ensign - For the Strength of You. We will be meeting in the home of a good family so the Spirit will be there. The plan is to separate the parents from the youth to talk about the importance of the standards in For the Strength of Youth. Then we'll come back together for a conclusion. This will be on a Sunday evening. Any suggestions, ideas?


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Preschool Ideas

Revisiting my previous post on Joy School, I found a great blog today with ideas for Moms to do with their kids. It doesn't have to be in a preschool. This can be something for any of us. Just thought I'd share! :)

Bumbo recall


My mom just told me that Bumbos have been recalled. They have caused skull fractures.

Innate Candy Detection

How do they know????? How, at 21 months, can they look at a candy wrapper of a candy bar they've never seen before and know immediately to reach out their tiny hands, opening and closing, want to grab hold and get chocolate all over their hands, whining, "tee-tee" (or however you child says candy!)???? How?????? I got Halloween candy that is mostly unfamiliar to her. I mean, who gives a baby milk duds? Yet, she knows by some built in radar that they obviously taste good!!! She can sense the sweet taste and smell that chocolate scent. And when i don't respond to the open hands and whining, she rubs her tummy saying, "peeeeeeeeace!" And so it begins before she even knows what she's asking for!

Happy Halloween! :)

Space heaters part II

I sort of posted this under Liz&meg's earlier post, but found all the info.

Before moving to NY, my husband and I lived in a mobile home. The guy that lived there before was a carpenter and built a GIGANTIC walk-in closet. Since it was bigger than my first bedroom, we turned it into a nursery for Margaret. Only downfall- it get any heat. Big problem for a November baby (and for those of you that live in MI, last feb had quite a few below zero days!).

So my husband found this:
As you can probably tell from the picture, it's a programmable thermostat that you plug into an outlet in the room, then plug the space heater into the thermostat. Turn your space heater to "on" then the thermostat does all the work. If it's warm enough in the room, it cuts power to the heater and turns it off, and if it's too cold, it turns it on. What's really nice is that there is a power switch on the thermostat. So if you don't want it to run during the day you can just flip the switch. It's available at most hardware stores. Or you can order it online. At Ace, it's $45, though I know we only paid $30-something and we ordered online. Just search online for Lux thermostat WIN100. The only thing is that you have to make sure you have the right kind of space heater. The first space heater we had, had a built in thermostat and so it wouldn't turn on automatically when the thermostat kicked on. So we had to go buy a "cheaper" one that wouldn't turn itself off.

I'm not sure if this works for a baby, since the amount of heat they put off is obviously less than an adult, but when I was pregnant, we put a plastic shower curtain under our sheets. Turned out, this really kept us warm! Though it was cold at first, as soon as we were in bed for a few minutes, since the plastic retains more heat than the sheets, we warmed up nicely :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Space Heaters

I know they can be dangerous and a fire hazard. But so can pajamas! However, my daughter's room is the farthest room from the furnace which means she gets the coolest air. Plus, her room is on the corner so two of her walls face the outside of the house. Her room gets stuffy in the summer and cool in the winter. When she was little, we'd open her door overnight after we went to bed so air would circulate. This year, I don't think that will work with my light little sleeper! I would like to get a space heater. My hubby objects. He worries about the hazards. Not to involve you in my domestic dispute :) or anything, I'd love some advice or experience. It's not even that cold yet here, and her room is already chilly!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I've been student teaching a 7th grade science class since September. The kids say some pretty funny things, but Friday's comment wins:

I had to explain to the students that we were starting a new unit on genetics. As part of the unit we have to talk about "sex cells." Through all their giggling I was able to explain that we weren't going to talk about sex, just sex cells and how they are different from blood cells, skin cells, etc.

I told the kids that if they were uncomfortable saying "sex" they should go home and practice saying it so that they could get use to hearing it said by me, their classmates, and themselves.

After my talk I'm walking around, handing out papers, and one of my most *obnoxious* students says, "Mrs. Coates, is it OK if I just say 's-cells'?"

I told her NO WAY. In a science class we use the scientific words. Just like in English...a teacher would never let you refer to a verb as "that v-word."

She tells me, "I made myself a promise never to say words like that."

So I said, "Words like what? SEX?" (I made sure to exaggerate every letter of the word)

She then tells me, "Mrs. Coates, I think Satan is using you to test me."

Please teach your children that there is a time and place to use "bad words."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Harry Potter....

Warning: a lot longer than expected and I jumped from thought to thought.

Alright, so I'm not a Harry Potter fan... never read a book, but I have listened to books 2&3 on tape while driving from MI to NY. However, I heard this on the news:

Personally I wonder why it matters. I find it somewhat sickening that an entertaining book is being reduced to a statement on sexual orientation (at least in my mind and some of the articles I've read). It is of course, no coincidence that the beloved headmaster, the influence for good is gay... even in public schools today, teachers who are homosexual are still viewed as an "evil influence."

I mean, this is sort of a touchy thing. From the gospel standpoint, we know that homosexuality is not the Lord's way and that acting on such instincts is a violation of God's law but that people who struggle with same gender attraction are not loved less by the Lord. But at the same time, it is SO widespread and accepted as a great thing. People are applauded for being a hero when they come out about their orientation. Don't get me wrong, I have lots of friends from H.S that were attracted to their same gender.. heck! I live in Ithaca - a city that by city ordinance gives benefits to "domestic partners" (they get the same benefits that I get as a spouse) and so I'm around a diversity of people everyday. I have no problem loving those with different standards than I. And no problem associating and being friends with such. But I know what the gospel teaches.

Of course there is freedom of speech, and there is freedom of expression, but how are we supposed to react? How are we supposed to explain to our kids who read Harry Potter and about the exalted Head master and ask about his love and life and why he didn't marry or have kids. Obviously, teach the truth, but it's difficult (and scary) to, once again combat, those who call good evil and evil good and to raise our kids in such a world. And how, when it comes time to vote on proposals to legalize same sex marriage, do we explain our position without offending? Of course, we just tell the truth, but how do you say that to a friend who is homosexual and engaged and wants to marry? And wants all of the benefits of marrying someone they love?

I think this post ended up being a rant more than anything, but I would love to hear our thoughts about Harry Potter and everything else. But it makes me sad and sick to think of what is accepted out there. And happy and SO grateful that I have the gospel to arm myself and my children with!

frozen meals

I have found that most of the people I make meals for prefer to have frozen ones that they can make at their convenience. I love to cook, but have not mastered the art of frozen meals other than enchiladas and chili. Does anyone have any recipes that work great as frozen meals?


Did anyone have really strange things happen to their bodies when they started to wean baby from breastfeeding? (and the much anticipated (ha) return of their periods)

Everything seems to be happening at once for me, and starting Sunday night I would wake up in the middle of the night with a rapid heart rate, difficultly breathing and warm and tingling hands and feet... the tingling lasted throughout the day as well, though finally stopped yesterday. And then in the mornings I have awful headaches. I went in to the dr., they ran a bunch of tests, and no conclusions yet. Margaret is eating a lot less (she'll be a year old Nov 8th), and that really is the only thing that is different. After talking with my sister she said she had some really strange (some similar) things happen to her when she stopped feeding her kids. So I was wondering did anyone go something similar?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cool Mist Humidifiers

Boring post alert!

Do you love your cool mist humidifier? If so, which one do you own? I really want to use mine but admittedly, we usually don't because it requires very regular cleanings with vinegar and bleach. But maybe that's typical (???) and we just need to stop being lazy about it. It's just hard to find the time to do it. If you have a great, low maintenance one, please let me know!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homeade gifts

Help! I know it's not even November yet, so I apologize to those of you who are thinking it's WAY too early to be worrying about this....

This is about the time when I start thinking about the holidays, and even start a little of my Christmas shopping. I like to put time and thought into gifts, so I'm not rushed. (And so I'm not buying everything at once!) Anyway, we started a new tradition on my husband's side of the family. We aren't supposed to buy each other anything, but instead make thoughtful, homeade gifts. Last year was easy because we had this awesome Craft Day at our Ward with several projects that were exactly that-thoughtful and homeade! However, I'm now in a small branch that doesn't do a craft day, and I'm not so good at coming up with ideas on my own!

Some examples of gifts we exchanged last year were:
-I made wooden blocks with sepia photographs on every side for each family member. The blocks stacked on top of each other, and they looked pretty neat!
-My sister in law framed a Proclamation to the Family for each of us, with our own custom borders of photographs of our families
-My sister in law also made one of those fleece sacks with rice and little objects in it, for kids to "search for" the objects during church, etc.

Hopefully that gets the creative juices flowing and PLEASE send your ideas my way!!! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wednesday Weekly

I was thinking the other day about a talk show I heard on the radio years ago. They were talking about what you splurge on. One person said they always have thier pizzas delivered (as opposed to carryout). Another said they buy fresh flowers for their home every week.

So, what do you splurge on?

New Contributor

Hi, my name is Heidi.

My husband and I met while we were both working at USU in Logan, Utah. We live in Alabama where my husband is an art professor at Jacksonville State University. Our six month old daughter keeps us laughing and very busy. In addition to these things, I am interested in a cappella music, reading, cooking, blogging, public radio, crocheting, sewing and hope to learn how to garden in 'bama.

Cramster and I were roommates about ten years ago. I've been reading this blog for a while and have posted comments from time to time. Then I got an invitation to join and I was excited. I told my husband that I just got invited to be in the "in group" and he immediately said, "did you get asked to be a contributor to Sugar and Spice?" It made me laugh. I'm looking forward to getting to know all y'all better through this blog. Thanks!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Humanitarian Aid

Tonight for Family Home Evening, Michael and I discussed Humanitarian Aid and we found this great site on the church's website:,7989,1325--9-1100,00.html

The site is a list of all the humanitarian aid projects you can make (along with guidelines and patterns). Out here, JoAnn Fabrics is having a sale on fleece, so we are making fleece mittens and scarves to send out. The website also has this list of current needs:
Crib Quilts - Priority Need
Infant outfits
Newborn Kits
Children's mittens and gloves (all sizes)
Crib sheets (42" X 72")
Children's lightweight pajamas (sizes 2-12)
Fabric activity books (quiet books)
Boys pants (size 2-12)
Receiving blankets
Children's socks (sizes 3-12)

Plus there are a lot more projects on the website I listed. Just thought I'd spread the word. It makes a great project for the colder days!

Sharpie Remover

I was just reading a blog (originally from Linz about a JK Rowling comment) and found this great post about removing Sharpie (permanent marker) from furniture. One of the commentors mentioned that when she used denatured alcohol on Sharpie marks, she barely even had to scrub them at all! I was so impressed (probably because I live in daily fear of such an episode, despite my diligent hiding of all non-Color Wonder markers), that I just had to post this! I have no idea where to buy denatured alcohol, but at least we know what to look for if ever a need arises! (I'm hoping it works on pen, too, as that's a much more common weapon on our furniture.)

It's getting cold out there...

Last winter, we battled ear infection after ear infection with our little one. It runs in the family and so I expected it. She was such a trooper and usually quite good about feeling so crappy but I remember being so relieved when she was over six months and I could give her cold medicine. We had colds through June, so I've already been gearing up for another long winter! So, while I want to follow what the experts are now saying about cold medicine, I'm a little dismayed! No cold medicine under the age of six! They say it doesn't help! I would like to say it does but I know part of it is I feel like I'm helping when I give her medicine. I also wonder how much just Tylenol or Ibuprofen helps because that's usually part of the formula too.

Some of the things that help now that cold medicine is out:
-humidifiers! If you don't have one, I strongly suggest it. The white noise helps them sleep and the humid air clears congestion(and helps with voice quality by the way)
-vitamins! I was so good with the nasty brown liquid vitamins when M was little and last year was terrible. I've always wondered if there's a connection.
-of course rest and hydration
-good hygiene! This is another duh! one but sometimes it's so easy to skip hand washing, teeth brushing, (or maybe I'm just a lazy mom!) :)

What else has gotten you through colds? what do you think of the new recommendations? Are you a follower or a skeptic?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Book request

I know we've given tips before, but I would love some new ideas for books for my one year old. However, I'm going to be kind of picky. I've learned that people love different things in Children's books, so I'll give you an idea of the kind of books I like to get. Linz raved about the book "Over in the Garden," by Jennifer Ward, and it's now one of my faves! I know they say simple books with not a lot of words are good for toddlers, but let's face it...they're not very fun to read! The words of this book flow in a very pleasant rhyming pattern, and I love reading it to her! It also has great pictures. So call me selfish, but I like books that are fun for ME to read! As far as books that are touch and feel, or have flaps, etc. Katie B. just got us the coolest book ever for Skyler's birthday. It's called "Tails," by Matthew Van Fleet, and every page has several different textures of animal tails to feel, as well as flaps to pull out, flaps to make the tails wag, etc. And, there's A LOT of pages! Sometimes toddler board books have like four pages, which I personally think is pretty lame. So anyway, there you have it. Those are two books that I feel strongly enough about to rave about. If you have any, please share!

Uhg .... Sundays

I'm feeling a bit frustrated and need to vent. At this point in life I really really dislike Sundays. Luke naps twice a day during the week but on Sundays because of church he only takes one nap. (Our wards time is 9-noon) He'll no longer sleep in his car seat while at church. He sleeps for the normal time after church but he's so tired all afternoon. He's crabby and cries and has the hardest time going to sleep at his regular bedtime. It's been almost an hour and he's not sleeping yet. I wish church was like it was years ago when sacrament mtg, sunday school and primary/RS/PH were at different hours of the day. I'm done venting ... unfortunately I'm still feeling incredibly frustrated.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Joy School

I have wanted to start a Joy School (Mom-run preschool) with some of the ladies in my ward. However, before I could get up the guts to ask people, someone beat me to it. Now I can particpate without the responsibility! :) She's asking for ideas for how to run it though. I know a few of you have done this before. What has worked, what hasn't? The ages range from my 21 month old to 3 1/2 year olds. We're planning on two hours with a lesson (possible snack) and then play time. I thought I'd see what you've learned in your preschool experiences.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How to make a Christmas stocking

Hi everyone! I know we need to give Halloween and Thanksgiving their due, but I am already getting ready for Christmas. I want to relax over the holidays and not feel stressed out by not having enough time to do what I need to do.

SO this year I have made some Christmas stockings for my family. I found a really simple way to make simple stockings. Click here to go to my blog and see the directions. It was too long for me to post a second time!

This pattern is very easy to follow. It doesn't take much time either, I made 3 stockings in about an hour and a half, including distraction time. AND to top it off they aren't very expensive to make - you need 2/3 yard of fabric total per stocking. Start watching for holiday fabric sales!

If you already have stockings for your family, these would be easy and inexpensive gift bags for neighbors, teachers, friends, visiting teaching sisters, etc. I have also heard of some families making a stocking for Christ, and then having family members put in something they are going to give to Him for the next year (usually they are spiritual goals but it could be anything).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New to Group

I started to introduce myself and realized I sounded a little too much like an AA know 'Hi my name is Teriney, blah blah blah.' Anyhow, my name really is Teriney. I am a sister in-law to Liz. I actually joined the group a month or so ago, but am really blog shy...but decided to take the leap!

I am originally from Arizona. I went to college in Utah, and graduated from the other other college, UVSC. I have a degree in Integrated Studies: Business Management & Communications. I am married to Joe, and the mother of a 16 month old girl and another girl on the way (due at the begining of March). We have been living in Arkansas for the past 2ish years, while Joe is working on his JD degree. He is in his finally year and we are excited to see where life takes us next!

I tend to think of myself as a dabbler in hobbies so I'll only list a few. My current favorites are: jewelry making (clearly I am not a photographer!) and sewing. I am definitely a beginner in the sewing department but I find it fun and relaxing. Anyhow, me in a nutshell! ps. Sorry for any spelling errors...I am not sure if the spell checked worked ;)

"Sip Tips"

Alright, I know we've had some posts already on when to start the sippy cup and whatnot. My issue is slightly different though. My newly turned one year old started using the sippy cup at meals months ago. However, she refuses to give up the bottle in between meals. According to my pedi, and the literature I have, she should still be getting 24 oz or so a day of milk. She doesn't take even half that at meals. She'll drink maybe 2 oz or so with each meal. If I try to offer the sippy cup in between meals, at the times when she usually gets a bottle, she cries and cries until I give her a bottle. I've had people say it's no big deal if she takes a bottle once or twice a day for a few more months. But is it going to get any easier for her to give it up in a few months? Do I just say tough love and take it away? I'm just worried she won't get enough milk if I do that. Have any of you had problems with this???

Wednesday Weekly

If you could bring a TV show back (cancelled or otherwise ended) on TV (with new episodes) what would it be?


So far M's costume has cost seven dollars-I decided it would probably cost that much to make a wand and wings so I bought some and am making the other pieces to transform my toddler into a fairy. What are your kids going to be for Halloween?????

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Christmas Children's Books

I have the Chrismas itch. I am trying to restrain myself to wait and put the Christmas CD's in until November 1. Just a few more weeks! Anyway, I'm looking for recommendations on Christmas children's books. I don't own a single one. Thanks!


A couple weeks ago my son had a small, seemlingly insignificant reaction to a bite of my peanut butter/honey sandwich. (These have become a staple in my pregnancy diet. I LOVE them). I didn't think much of it and chalked it up to something else he'd eaten that day. Last Sunday he had a bite of my waffle that had peanut butter on it, no P.B. on the bite he had, but it was on the rest of the waffle. He immediately threw up all over and then starting breathing very shallow, raspy breaths and his lips turned and frightening shade of blue.

We made an appointment with an allergist and lo and behold, my poor little guy has a peanut allergy. I've decided there's nothing worse for your sweet little ones to be allergic to. I don't know if you knew this, but it seems like EVERY single food is created with, near or in something peanuty. This knowledge has really caused a radical lifestyle change in the Koudelka home, which is totally worth it if we can prevent a reaction like the ones we've experienced so far. I'm slowly starting to become an "expert" in the peanut allergy field, but was wondering if anyone else knew more about these allergies and foods that are "allowed" in his diet. We're still in the experimental stage trying to determine just how sensitive his body is, so any new information would be much appreciated!

Vinyl Lettering

I found this blog one day while I was surfing. I know vinyl lettering is big in Utah but it's just making it's way out to Minnesota. I love the signs with the family name with Families are Forever overlaid. Since we don't have this readily available, are these prices good? We might be doing it for Enrichment soon (yay!) so I might not have to try to track my own down. The girl who runs this blog also said we could do it ourselves. Anyone done it? Is it easy?

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Son

I took this picture of my son earlier today. I love it! I just wanted to share it with all of you. His name is Luke.