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! :)