December 13, 2009

Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Bars

All I have to say is holy freaking crap these are amazing.  That is if you like chocolate, caramel, and shortbread.  If you don't then get off my blog immediately and go repent!


Makes 16.
  • 4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment ( If you use Margarine I will not take any responsibility for the outcome!)
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 10 1/2 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped (2 cups)  (Please don't use crappy chocolate!  It just is wrong!)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  • Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment(DON'T SKIP THIS STEP!!!!), excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined.

  • Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

  • Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

  • You can either Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. OR Cut bars and dip in chocolate caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt.  I prefer to dip.

  • Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.  (as if they will actually last that long!)

  • September 28, 2009

    My Reasons

    I have made some decisions:

    I am losing weight!

    I am getting fit!

    I am going to learn something new every month!

    I will be the best mom/wife that I can be!

    and here is why...

    August 27, 2009

    Horse, Llama, and Chickens

    The conversation between my Bex and Jake went like this.

    "Dad can i have a horse?"
    "sorry, we don't have room for a horse"
    "How about a Llama?"
    "What?! why a Llama?"
    " They look soft"
    "Bex How bout a Chicken?"
    " Ok daddy!"

    I love that she is still so easily pleased.

    August 25, 2009

    Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

    Best served the day it is baked.

    Makes: One 9 1⁄2- or 10-inch tart

    Prepare in a 91⁄2- or 10-inch two-piece tart pan.

    Pat-in-the-Pan Shortbread Dough, below
    Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring to a simmer in a small saucepan:
    1 cup heavy cream
    Remove from the heat and add:
    8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    Whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then whisk in:
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    Pour the chocolate mixture into the tart shell. Bake until the center seems set but still quivers, like gelatin, when the pan is nudged, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
    Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with:
    Whipped Cream
    Store in refrigerator.

    One 9 1⁄2- or 10-inch tart shell
    When baked, this rich, sweet dough resembles a shortbread cookie. Use it for a cream pie, a lemon tart, a fresh fruit tart with pastry cream, or any other pie or tart with a creamy or buttery filling.
    Whisk together in a bowl or process in a food processor for 10 seconds:
    1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
    1⁄3 cup sugar
    (1 teaspoon grated lemon zest)
    1⁄4 teaspoon salt
    1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened if working by hand
    Mash with the back of a fork or process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add:
    1 large egg yolk
    Mix with a spatula or process just until the dough comes together in a ball. If the dough is too soft and sticky to work with, wrap it and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to 2 days). Grease or butter the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan or 9 1⁄2- or 10-inch two-piece tart pan or eight 3 1⁄2-inch tartlet pans. Dust the pans with flour, and tap out the excess. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Thoroughly prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes.

    Coleslaw-Ranch style with Bacon

    Serves 6

    1 pkg. (16 oz.) coleslaw blend
    4 slices Bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
    1/2 cup Ranch Dressing

    TOSS coleslaw blend and bacon in large bowl.
    ADD dressing; toss to coat.
    Eat and enjoy!

    My Big Fat Greek Chicken Salad

    Serves 4

    Replacing mayonaise or bottled dressings with yogurt made a big difference in my own battle of the bulge. And I love using fresh herbs such as oregano to give my meals a big flavor boost.

    The Groceries

    The Dressing

    1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
    1 1/3 TBSP lemon juice
    2/3 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
    1/3 TBSP oregano, finely chopped
    1 1/3 small cloves garlic, minced
    salt and ground black pepper

    2/3 bag (5 ounces) salad greens
    1 1/3 cooked rotisserie chicken breasts, skinned and cut into chunks
    2/3 pint grape tomatoes, halved

    2 kirby cucumbers, peeled and sliced
    2/3 cups kalamata olives, sliced
    1/3 small red onion, thinly sliced
    1/3 cups feta cheese, crumbled
    2 2/3 whole wheat pitas (8" each)


    To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    To make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, onion, and feta. Add the dressing and toss gently to combine.

    Wrap the pitas in a paper towel, warm them in a microwave for 15 to 20 seconds, and serve with the salad.

    August 11, 2009

    Peanut Butter Bars

    I adore the marriage between chocolate and peanut butter. I am unaware of the length of their relationship but I do not see divorce in the near future. The salty nuttiness of peanuts joined with the rich sweetness of chocolate definitely supports the old adage; opposites attract. When I hear that peanut butter bars are being served at a picnic or potluck, I usually cower, mostly because past experiences with peanut butter bars have proven, how should I say it, yucky. Too gooey, too dry, too sweet, too rich, too, too, – too, well yucky. I happened upon this recipe, submitted by Nancy, on which was completely serendipitous considering I needed a dish to bring to a potluck today. No bake, even better so I took a chance. Ah-ha! Place these on your next sweet treats to make list, you won’t be disappointed because I think you will agree that they taste suspiciously like a Reese's® Peanut Butter Cup.

    Peanut Butter Bars
    2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    2 sticks butter, melted
    1 cup all natural peanut butter, I used Smucker’s
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
    4 T. more peanut butter

    In a food processor pulse graham crackers until super fine. I used 16 whole Nabisco Grahams Original® crackers. But be sure that you have exactly 2 cups of whatever brand you use. To the fine crumbs add the melted butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. Pulse until mixture is blended and smooth. Press the peanut butter mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking pan. Melt the chocolate chips and 4 T. peanut butter in the microwave in 25 second increments until melted and smooth. Pour over peanut butter batter and spread evenly. Chill for 30 minutes or until set. Remove to room temperature for at least 15 minutes then slice into bars.

    Note: Here is where some of the reviewers had trouble. Some tried to cut the bars right from the refrigerator and found the chocolate separated from the base or they crumbled and cracked. So be sure to leave them out of the fridge for 15 or more minutes before cutting with a very sharp knife, hot water on the knife is unnecessary. Mine sliced beautifully and held their shape. I think the natural peanut butter is much creamier giving a fudgier texture. Because I used a food processor I did not experience a grainy texture as some of the other reviewers reported.

    July 27, 2009

    FHE Idea of the Week

    Lesson 5: Adam and Eve, The First Family

    Opening Song: “Families Can Be Together Forever” (CS, page 188)

    Opening Prayer

    Family Business:

    Scripture or Testimony: 2 Nephi 2:25

    Lesson: “My Eternal Family,” Friend, Feb 2004, 38
    Tell about the creation of people, as found in Genesis 1:26–28. Explain that Adam and Eve were the first two people to live on the earth. They had bodies of flesh and bones that looked like Heavenly Father’s body.
    • • Who was the first man to live on the earth?
    • • Who was the first woman?
    • • What kind of bodies did Adam and Eve have?
    Have the children feel their arms, and remind them that their bodies are like Adam’s and Eve’s bodies. Tell the story of Adam and Eve in your own words, bringing out the following points (see Genesis 2:15–25; 3):
    • 1. After Adam and Eve received physical bodies, they lived in a beautiful place called the Garden of Eden.
    • 2. Adam and Eve were married for eternity by Heavenly Father.
    • 3. Fruits and flowers grew easily in the Garden of Eden, and all the animals were tame.
    • 4. Adam and Eve did not know the difference between good and bad.
    • 5. Adam and Eve could not have children.
    • 6. Adam and Eve could eat fruit from every tree except one.
    • 7. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from that tree.
    • 8. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden.
    • 9. The whole world changed: Adam and Eve had to work hard to get food, weeds began to grow, and animals became wild.
    • 10. Adam and Eve then began to have children.
    Adam and Eve established the first family on this earth. Heavenly Father commanded them to have children and to worship Him. As children were born to Adam and Eve, they taught them the gospel. (See Moses 2:28, Moses 5:5, and Moses 5:12.) This is Heavenly Father’s plan for families—He has sent us to earth so that we can learn from our parents and, someday, teach our own children.
    Have someone read the testimony of Adam and Eve from Moses 5:10–12. Express your appreciation for what Adam and Eve did for us. Testify that because of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected and can choose to become like Heavenly Father and return to his presence.
    Activity: Help the children do the following finger play:

    Adam and Eve
    Adam and Eve lived on the earth (cup hands together to indicate the earth)
    When it was very new.
    They tended many animals (use one hand to pet the other hand)
    And the food they grew (put fingers to mouth, as if eating).

    Adam and Eve had children (put up two fingers close together)
    Who had children of their own (add two more fingers).
    Now many children have been born (wiggle all ten fingers).
    Look how the world has grown (use arms to make a large circle, then stretch arms out to the side)!

    Closing Prayer


    July 21, 2009

    Is it a Peach or a Cupcake?!

    Now seriously! I wish I had seen these 7 years ago, when in May I was wanting peaches on top and around my wedding cake. I had marzipan :( I really do hate Marzipan! Sorry to anyone who likes it.

    The genius who made me smile today is at Big Red Kitchen. I love this blog and I only found it today! (pathetic that I can fall in love so fast I know)

    July 6, 2009

    On a Break from my Computer

    I am in the process of moving (again). So I won't be posting until August. But here are some before pictures of our new place.

    June 26, 2009

    Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

    I had a craving for Chicken Cordon I made this cause I don't like stuffing chicken.

    Serves 12
    1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (8 rolls)
    2 tablespoons Salted Butter
    1 tablespoon 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1 large onion, thinly sliced
    2 clove garlic, finely chopped
    1 box (13.25 oz) frozen baked honey-battered chicken tenders, thawed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or 1 deli rotisserie chicken (2 to 2 1/2 lb), shredded
    16 slices (1 oz each) Mozza or Provolone cheese
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon honey
    1 teaspoon horseradish sauce or cream-style prepared horseradish
    1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    1 lb shaved cooked brown-sugar or maple-glazed ham (from deli)

    Heat oven to 375ºF. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with No-Stick Cooking Spray. Unroll crescent rolls in baking dish; press perforations to seal. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown.
    Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Remove from heat; stir in cut-up chicken tenders.
    Place 8 slices of the Mozzarella cheese over baked crust. In small bowl, stir Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, honey, horseradish sauce and thyme until well blended. Spoon half of the mayonnaise mixture evenly over cheese on crust.
    Spoon chicken mixture evenly over mayonnaise mixture on crust. Spoon remaining mayonnaise mixture evenly over chicken. Cover chicken evenly with ham. Top with remaining 8 slices Muenster cheese.
    Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and filling is thoroughly heated.

    June 16, 2009

    Pasta Salad with Chicken and Spinach

    This chicken, spinach, and pasta salad is tossed with a flavorful mayonnaise and lemon juice dressing. This is a great main dish salad for hot summer days. Use cooked leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken for this tasty salad recipe.


    • 8 ounces fusilli or rotini pasta
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/4 cup diced onion
    • 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced
    • 2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped chicken
    • 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon or a favorite gourmet mustard
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
    • salt, to taste


    Cook pasta following package directions; drain and rinse well.
    Toss cooled pasta with the spinach, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and chicken.
    Combine 1 cup of the mayonnaise with wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, and basil. Toss with the pasta mixture. Add more mayonnaise, if needed. Taste and add salt, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving time for best flavor.
    Serves 4 to 6.

    Mushroom Bacon Breakfast Strata

    Picture by Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman
    Recipe is adapted from this Pioneer Woman Recipe.
    What you buy:
    12 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 pieces
    12 white mushrooms, sliced
    8 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup half & half or whole milk
    salt and pepper to taste
    6 ounces cream cheese
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    4 Pitas, cut into 2 inch squares and toasted lightly
    What you do:
    Fry bacon pieces in a large skillet until done but not overly crispy. Drain on a paper towel, pour grease from skillet.
    Add mushrooms to skillet (don’t clean skillet first) and cook until done.
    Mix eggs, half & half, salt, and pepper.
    Arrange pita chips in an 8 x 11-inch baking dish. Slightly press to flatten.
    Tear pieces of cream cheese and evenly distribute over the top.
    Distribute mushrooms and bacon over the top, followed by the cheddar cheese.
    Pour egg mixture evenly over all ingredients.
    Place into the fridge for several hours of overnight (makes a handy breakfast casserole!), then bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until eggs are set.
    Cut into squares and serve immediately.

    June 12, 2009

    (Repost) Chocolate Caramel Crackers (so very addicting!)

    Adapted from recipe on Smitten Kitchen that was adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Marcy Goldman who is the genius that first applied this to matzo

    approximately 40 Saltine crackers or crackers of your choice (original recipe-4 to 6 sheets matzo)
    1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into a few large pieces
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    A big pinch of sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (or semisweet chocolate if you don't like dark chocolate)
    1 cup toasted chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts or a nut of your choice (optional)
    Extra sea salt for sprinkling (if using Matzo)

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet completely with foil, and then line the base of the foil with parchment paper, cut to fit. (don't skip this step or your clean up will be torture)

    Line the bottom of the baking sheet with crackers, covering all parts. (If using matzo, you'll need to break pieces to fit any extra spaces, which will be annoying because despite being perforated, it does not actually break in straight lines. There has been some luck pressing a serrated knife straight down along a section between perforations, if that makes sense.)

    In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Once it has begun boiling, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring it well. It will thicken a bit as it cooks. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the crackers. You’ll want to spread it quickly, as it will begin to set as soon as it is poured.

    Bake the caramel-covered crackers for 15 minutes, watching carefully as it will bubble and the corners might darken too quickly and/or burn. You can reduce the heat if you see this happening.

    Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand five minutes, they will start to melt and then spread them evenly across the caramel. An offset spatula works great here. If you’re using them, sprinkle the chocolate with toasted chopped nuts and/or sea salt. (The sea salt is great on matzo. On Saltines, it’s really not necessary.)

    Once completely cool — I sometimes speed this process up in the fridge, impatient as should be expected in the face of caramel crackers :) — break it into pieces ( nibble on some) and store it in a container out of the reach of any children. (somehow it always goes missing if not hidden) It should keep for a week but it won't last that long

    June 10, 2009

    Tutus and pony tails

    The Last class until fall. (video at the bottom)

    If you can't view this just click this link to go the Youtube to view it.

    Mud Pies = Smiley Girl

    Lately it has been raining and pouring (no snoring) quite a bit at my house.  Bex has never been happier!  After a recent "I'm bored", I taught her how to make mudpies! I think she might have thought I was a bit crazy at first but then she got right in there with both hands...and feet.

    She left it outside overnight to 'Bake' and she is still in her jammies cause she had to go check on it first thing in the morning!


    Mud Pie

    Prep Time:
    50 min
    Total Time:
    3 hr 50 min
    8 servings (6 if you my family)

    What You Need!
    22 NILLA Wafers, crushed (about 3/4 cup crumbs)
    1/2 cup  finely chopped Pecans
    2 Tbsp. butter, melted
    1 pkg.  (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    1-1/2 cups  thawed COOL WHIP, divided
    1-3/4 cups cold milk
    1 pkg.  (4-serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding

    Make It!
    PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix wafer crumbs, pecans and butter; press firmly onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 min.; cool.
    BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping; spread over crust. Pour milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Spoon over cream cheese layer.
    REFRIGERATE several hours or until set. Top with remaining 1/2 cup whipped topping just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

    June 9, 2009

    Quickest Strawberry Jam

    For a quick breakfast or snack, toast slices of country-style bread and top with ricotta and a dollop of jam. ( or just eat out of the jar like Bex does. That is my gauge of culinary success)

    Makes 1 3/4 cup ( if you don't have little hands sneaking berries)

    2 cups hulled Strawberries
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 TBSP fresh lemon juice (just go out to your tree and pick one...right?)

    In a food processer, process berries until coarsely chopped, or if you are a ninja go crazy with a knife. Transfer to a large skillet and stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium ish heat, stirring frequently, until the jam is thickened and bubbly, about 9-10 min. Transfer jam to a jar and let cool to room temperature. ( To store, seal jar and refrigerate, up to 10 days, but I promise it will be gone before then!)

    June 8, 2009

    FHE Idea of the Week

    Lesson 4: Families Are a Part of Heavenly Father’s Plan

    Opening Song:  “Families Can Be Together Forever” (CS, page 188)

    Opening Prayer

    Family Business:  

    Scripture or Testimony:  Matthew 6:21

    Lesson: Review with the children that each of us chose to follow Heavenly Father’s plan and come to earth. Tell the children that when we came to earth, Heavenly Father blessed us with people to help us and love us.
    Tell the children that you will give them clues to help them figure out who these people are. One at a time, have a child hold up each letter of the word family. Have the children state the name of the letter. Then give a clue that starts with that letter. Some possible clues are given on the next page.
    1. Father is a part of it.
    2. Aunts and uncles are part of it.
    3. Mother is a part of it.
    4. I am a part of it.
    5. Love is a part of it.
    6. You are a part of it.
    When you have given all the clues, repeat the word family together with the children.
    • Why do we need families? 
    Explain that when we were babies we needed to live with people who would take care of us. Heavenly Father planned for each of us to live with a family that would love us and take care of us. As we grow older, our families also teach us and help us make wise choices.
    Explain that all families are different. Some families have two parents, and some families have only one. Some families have lots of children, and some families have only a few children or one child. Some families have children, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all living together. Some children live with adults who aren’t related to them but who still love them and care for them. Families do different things together and show love in different ways. The important thing about families is that the family members love and care for each other. Everyone needs to be part of a family.

    Hold up your hand with the fingers extended. Explain that the members of a family can work together like the fingers and thumb of a hand. Ask the children to try to pick up their scriptures or some other object with one hand, without using their thumbs. Explain that while they may be able to pick up the object with just their fingers, it is much easier when they use their thumb and fingers together. Remind the children that every member of a family is important. Family members can accomplish much when they all work together.
    Give the children paper and crayons or pencils and have them draw pictures of their families. Label each picture My Family Loves Me.
    Closing Prayer & Treat

    June 6, 2009

    I just couldn't resist!

    isn't this awesome!

    The best OAMC site I have found YET!

    While doing my early morning (before the kidlets wake) internet time, i found my new favorite!

    I promise once you visit you will thank me...that is if you do Once a Month Cooking.  and...if you don't you should start.


    1. you will save money

    2. you will save time

    3. you will save your busy weekday sanity

    4. your husband will have a (ok a months worth) meal for your 'girls night out'

    June 4, 2009

    My little Ray Ray

    Today we are having a Mommy/RayRay/Ez day.  Bex and Daddy are in Edmonton breeding Gracie for the next 2 days.

    Here are some pictures of my beautiful girl (these are for you mom)


    June 2, 2009

    7 ways that I have found to boost Self-esteem

    1) Think back to when you did something new for the first time.

    Learning something new is often accompanied by feelings of nervousness, lack of self belief and high stress levels, all of which are necessary parts of the learning process. The next time you feel under-confident, remembering this will remind you that it's perfectly normal - you're just learning!

    2) Do something you have been putting off.

    Like writing or calling a friend, cleaning the house, tidying the garden, fixing the car, organizing the bills, making a tasty and healthy meal - anything that involved you making a decision, then following through!

    3) Do something you are good at.

    Examples? How about swimming, running, dancing, cooking, gardening, climbing, painting, writing… If possible, it should be something that holds your attention and requires enough focus to get you into that state of 'flow' where you forget about everything else. You will feel more competent, accomplished and capable afterwards, great antidotes to low self esteem!

    And while you're at it, seriously consider doing something like this at least once a week. People who experience 'flow' regularly seem to be happier and healthier.

    4) Stop thinking about yourself!

    I know this sounds strange, but low self esteem is often accompanied by too much focus on the self. Doing something that absorbs you and holds your attention can quickly make you feel better.

    5) Get seriously relaxed.

    If you are feeling low, anxious or lacking in confidence, the first thing to do is to stop thinking and relax properly. Some people do this by exercising, others by involving themselves in something that occupies their mind. However, being able to relax yourself when you want is a fantastic life skill and so practicing self hypnosis, meditation, or a physically-based relaxation technique such as Tai Chi can be incredibly useful.

    When you are properly relaxed, your brain is less emotional and your memory for good events works better. A great 'rescue remedy'!

    6) Remember all the things you have achieved.

    This can be difficult at first, but after a while, you'll develop a handy mental list of self-esteem boosting memories. And if you're thinking "But I've never achieved anything", I'm not talking about climbing Everest here.

    Things like passing your driving test (despite being nervous), passing exams (despite doubting that you would), playing team sport, getting fit (even if you let it slip later), saving money for something, trying to help someone (even if it didn't work) and so on.

    7) Remember that you could be wrong!

    If you are feeling bad about yourself, remember that you way you feel affects your thoughts, memory and behavior. So when you feel bad, you will only remember the bad times, and will tend to be pessimistic about yourself. This is where the tip 'Get Seriously Relaxed' comes in!

    June 1, 2009

    Little Prayers

    Every night before their heads hit the pillow my little girls say prayers.  Today we had a ROUGH day.

    This is Rebecca's prayer:

    "...please help mommy to not be a grump anymore.  I don't like it when she is a grump..."

    I have come to believe quite strongly that the Lord sends us children so they can teach us something, not the other way around.

    May 31, 2009

    LDS Church's Elder Russell Nelson, and wife Wendy Watson Nelson robbed in Mozambique

    Elder Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Wendy, were among church leaders robbed by armed assailants Friday evening in the Mozambique Maputo Mission home.
    On a church assignment in Mozambique, Elder and Sister Nelson were having dinner with Elder William W. Parmley of the Quorums of the Seventy and the church's Africa Southeast Presidency and his wife, Shanna Lee, and with mission President Blair J. Packard and his wife, Precinda, said LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter.
    "We don't have complete information yet, but we understand Sister Packard's arm was broken," said Trotter. "In addition, she and others suffered some superficial injuries, mainly cuts and bruises."
    Elder and Sister Nelson will continue their assignment over the weekend as planned, he added.
    Local authorities are investigating the matter.
    The LDS Church was legally recognized in Mozambique, a southeastern Africa nation, in 1996, with the first branch created in the capital city of Maputo. Missionaries arrived in 1999.
    The Mozambique Maputo Mission was created on Jan. 1, 2005, the church's 339th mission.

    May 30, 2009

    The most heavenly graham crackers ever!

    I found a recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site and have fell in love.  I dare to try it and not love them.  I have actually resorted to hiding them from my kidlets.  (of course i made a batch of oven smores! pictures will follow once i can get the marshmallows off my fingers)

    Pictures of my favorite household 'chore'