Sunday, March 18, 2012

Casino Goers

So, I know people are probably tired of reading about our cruise stuff, but I just had to share a thought I had.

Curtis and I were on the first floor of the ship, and as such, we were slated to be among the first group to disembark after the cruise. As Curtis and I were standing in line awaiting our turn however, there was a large group of people who had paid extra to be allowed to disembark before us. The stewardess told us they were a group who had come primarily to play on the casinos (the casino area was also the only area on the ship that allowed smoking.). As these people were getting off the ship, I was just quietly observing (yes, I am a big people watcher!). Most of them seemed to be overweight, sallow faced, and dull-eyed.

In contrast, we ran into several LDS couples on our trip. I've always heard that you could often pick LDS people out of a crowd, but I didn't realize how true that was until we were on the ship. There was such a contrast between the LDS people we met and the drinkers/smokers/partiers. In fact, one evening, we were sitting down for a show and this couple walked in front of us to take a seat. I leaned over to Kayla and said, "What do you bet that couple is LDS?" Kayla went over to ask them, and sure enough, they were!

Anyway, as I was watching the casino goers exit the ship, it occurred to me how grateful I am for the gospel, in particular the Word of Wisdom given by the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants. It just brightens people's countenances and puts a twinkle in their eye!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Little Leila

One of my hopes, which is kind of a work in progress, (in other words, for when I get myself more organized!) is to make a shrine of sorts for each of my kids on their birthdays. I want to set out photos of them, scrapbooks, etc. To that end, I am also trying to be more diligent about taking annual photos of them. These are a couple of the photos I took at Leila's photo shoot. She is such an angel!

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Random Pictures

And just a couple golf, ice sculpture demonstration, and in port preparing to leave...Isn't my hubby cute?!
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Random Pictures

A few more cruise photos...

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Parasailing Adventure

So one of the things I wanted to splurge on for our cruise was a parasailing adventure. It was amazing! Curtis and I got to go tandem, and it was just so peaceful and quiet, flying up in the air. I loved it!

To add to the coolness, we saw several whales while we were out, including a mother and baby. So neat!

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Cruise Photos

So here are some random photos from our cruise.

We went with two other couples, which was super fun! It is nice to have company.
We went to Cabo, Mexico.
At one point in time there were three cruise ships in port!
It was fun to see each night what little animal had been created on our bed. Us girls all went to an onboard class on how to make a few of them, so we could come home and impress our kids! Fun!
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Valentine's Cruise

What better way to spend Valentine's Day then with my dearest love on a Valentine's cruise to Mexico?!

I love my sweet Curtis with all of my heart, and I couldn't ever imagine a life without him. He is truly a wonderful, good man, and I thank the Lord daily for allowing us to share a life together.

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Swimming With the Dolphins

One of the things we splurged for on our cruise was a dolphin swim for Curtis. (Apparently it has been on his bucket list, although I have my suspicions that he sees something cool he wants to do and spontaneously says it is on his list!) Anyway, so yes, Curtis got to spend a lovely morning swimming with the dolphins. I thought it looked cool, but not worth the money to freeze for an hour! Cold water and I do not agree! I am glad Curtis got to do it though, and he loved it!

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In Love With My Tupperware!

Do you ever just get so sick and tired of having a gazillion tupperware containers and a gazillion lids, none of which match?!

I did.

Last week I went from this.... this! (Obviously my labels are for my old tupperware.) I put all my assorted tupperware into a bag, which I will be getting rid of.

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I found the above awesome sets of tupperware for three bucks each at Wal-Mart over by the plastic baggies and saran wrap and stuff. They have attached lids (YES!), are microwave and top rack dishwasher safe, and completely recyclable. The large ones come in a set of seven, the mediums a set of nine, and the smalls in a set of 14. They are not super heavy duty, but hey, for most of my needs, they are perfect!!!

Well...what are you waiting for? Simplify your life a little more and go get some!

And just throw away your old ones--don't try to keep them, or it will become another jumbled mess! (Or you can recycle them, or better yet, give them away with dinners!)

"Who You Are" at a Glance

After inadvertently demolishing the kids' bedroom bookshelf while attempting to move it for our decor project without taking off all the books first (once again trying to be lazy), I found myself in need of some new shelving. Check out these babies (below) from IKEA I found on Craigslist! I liked them so much that they ended up staying in the master bedroom, while the small, Wal-Mart shelves that had originally been in our room, ended up out in the hallway.
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Speaking of bookshelves, one thing I love to do when I go over to someone's house is to look at their bookshelves. I know, it sounds weird, but I have found that you can get a lot of insight into someone's personality, hobbies, and interests, by seeing what kinds of books they have. I think of it as a "quick-start" in getting to know someone.

For instance, here is what you would find on my bookshelves:

*Several Patrick McManus books (the author is an outdoor humorist whom I find hilarious)
*Lots of self-help books (I need all the help I can get!)
*Word books and a vocabulary building book (so I can accomplish one of my life goals of beating my younger sister, Anona, in a game of Boggle.) I also love to write.
*Books on gardening, landscaping, and interior decorating
*Books on health, and cookbooks
*Several food storage/emergency preparedness books
*A few fantasy books (Ranger's Apprentice, Harry Potter, etc. Not a huge fan of fantasy in general, but a little is o.k.
*Lots of history books and classics (I have been buying the edited classics lately, so I can read them to the kids
*Music books
*Lots of church books
*A book on creating fountains
*A couple books on aromatherapy/massage
*Several novels and miscellaneous books, including assorted westerns, the Darwin Awards, a few Great Brain books, and the beginnings of a Tennis Shoes Among The Nephites collection (LOVE those books! They are so fun!)
*Several inspirational books and books on money management (Those are Curtis'.)

Same idea with can get great insight into someone's life when you can find out what magazines they subscribe to!

Another interesting thought on finding out about people...we had a guy come in and talk to some of our youth from church recently about resume building and job interviewing. The fellow just moved into the area with his wife, and is the regional manager for the Golden Spoons Frozen Yogurt chain. He said when he is interviewing, he often likes to ask people what Disney character they most relate to, because it's a quick way to get insight into their personality. Not sure that would be kosher for a professional job interview, but for a Golden Spoon-type job, cool. I have been thinking about what he said, though, and I think I would most relate myself to Belle, in Beauty and the Beast. (Because I am so beautiful, and all!) O.K., just kidding about the last, but I feel like we share many similar characteristics. She is very practical, and she loves to read. She is also a compassionate person, and tries her best to be a peace maker. She doesn't really seem to care a whole lot what others think of her, which I like, and she really looks on a person's heart and sees their potential, rather then focusing on their outward appearance....all things I find important. Oh, and I love her upbeat outlook on life in general!

I Like To Be...Under the Sea...

A Nifty Decorating Idea

We are renting a condo right now, and rather then trying to talk our landlord into letting us paint, (and spending my time and $$ on someone else's house) I bought these ocean/tropical themed scene setters from Party City. They come in 40' rolls for twenty bucks each, and we just stapled them to the wall in the kids' bedroom. The kids love their new room, and it feels like they are in a giant aquarium!
Nifty, huh?!
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Leprechaun Milkshakes

Here is a new recipe I tried this last week that was AMAZING. It is an avocado milkshake, but you would never know, because it doesn't really taste like avocados. Even my seven year old son, who thinks avocados are disgusting, loved it. (I didn't inform him of the main ingredient until AFTER he had eaten it! Ha! Ha!)

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 cup milk
2 T. sugar (I use xylitol instead)
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 t. vanilla

Blend in a blender until it is milkshake consistency, and enjoy the deliciousness! I told my kids it was a "Leprechaun Shake." They liked that!

Lazy Momma's Beans


O.K., so only one person has requested this recipe, but if more people tasted it, I'm sure I would have more requests...(-: So before you ask me to bring you dinner, here you are:

(A quick note first)
When I was in Japan, I had association with several Brazilians who taught me how to make THE MOST amazing beans I had ever eaten. They call this daily fare "feijao." There are a gazillion different recipes on the internet for these beans, but here is my adapted "Lazy Mom's" version, that comes together in literally about 2 minutes. My family all loves them, even the kids!

Into a strainer, I pour however many dry beans I want to cook (my favorite are black, but pinto are also good) and rinse them. I like to make a huge batch at a time because they freeze really well. I then dump the beans into a large crock pot, covering them with water. I like to have the water several inches above the beans, because the beans will expand quite a bit.

*note--I never presoak my beans and they always turn out fine--remember, these are lazy mom beans! (If your beans are old, however, you will need to pre-soak them or pressure cook them.) Also, if your family does not eat beans often, be forewarned that if you do not soak your beans, you may have a...musical and fragrant evening. Not a problem if you eat beans frequently, though.

Anyway, on that note, I then add beef bullion--follow the amounts listed on your can to see how much you will need for the amount of water you put in. Then I put in a few shakes of:

Garlic Powder (lots)
Onion Powder (lots)

and several whole bay leaves--the bay leaves are the kicker, so don't leave them out!

Then I let this simmer for several hours until the beans are soft. YUM!

I like to blend some of these beans up with an immersion blender for an amazing black bean soup, as well. Add a sprinkle of cheese, a dallop of Greek yogurt and some cilantro, a few crispy tortilla strips, and voila! A quick, delicious dinner, and hopefully leftover beans to use in tortillas for lunches throughout the week!